• Kim Burke

14/ Back to the grind!

Updated: May 6, 2020

After a well earned break over the Christmas period it is time to get back into the swing and develop my idea for my honours project! After completing my dissertation - evaluating the ethics of the fast fashion industry - I took a well needed break to sunny Fuerteventura with Dundee University Surf Club.

(I won't make you jealous with sunny holiday photos)

Yesterday I took the first step to getting my head around my design concept.

A instrument that can be attached to existing buoys used in the fishing industry. The device will highlight the presence of fishing equipment below surface level to prevent the loss of fishing gear, deadly for marine life. My aim is to generate electricity through wave energy to power a light on the buoy. The largest obstacle will be cost efficiency.

Challenging myself to create a device that can be attached to existing buoys is difficult although I feel that this will be beneficial in the success of the product. Currently buoys range from £40-£80 and are made from Polyethylene making them extremely durable. Buoys typically last for years and years unless lost of damaged. I will be designing for the 'Polyform buoy', designed to stand up-right within demanding use such as commercial fishing, aquaculture and general marking.

See image above for reference.

I have recently been stressed trying to imagine how to create energy from the stationary movement of the buoy. The other day I stumbled across this youtube video which simplified my thinking massively! Skip to 0:53 to view a demonstration of a piston with a magnet and copper wire generating electricity from the movement of waves.

This has inspired me to use a magnet and copper to generate electricity from the movement of the buoy. It is something I believe is achievable and most importantly cost efficient! Following the response of prawn fishermen Mario from Tayvalliach, they believe an affordable solution is necessary for fishermen to buy the product.



I have began to explore making models of my concept to illustrate my idea in approach to our Mark 1 presentation on the 24th February. My aim for the end of next week is to develop the technology in a model.

Model in progress shown below:

This model has been created to harness the power created by kinetic energy. The electric field created between the movement of the magnet inside the model, against the copper wire generates a couple of volts of electricity. The movement of this model shown within the video is to be simulated through the waves in the ocean, bouncing around the buoy. This model represents enough movement and material to power a small LED. Yesterday I wired this up to the voltmeter with Ali and it did read voltage but not quite enough to power an LED, let alone a larger LED at sea. So its safe to say it needs developed further!

Above digital sketches illustrate the movement of the buoy in the water with the technology to generate electricity.

My next steps will entail exploring wave energy a little further to power an LED light. I am going to to highlight the buoys presence. The next model I am looking to make will explore using a Piezo generator to generate electricity. This part is commonly used within electronic birthday cards to play music. Testing the part alone against my current model yesterday with Ali generated more voltage so I am curious to explore this part as an option.

Piezo shown below:

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