Scientists have developed a way to harvest energy from the sea to power ocean sensor buoys.

Sensor buoys can measure many things, like ocean currents, ocean winds, sea surface height and sea surface temperature. The researchers from Electro Standards Laboratory and the University of Rhode Island, have demonstrated a system that generates and accumulates energy that can be used to indefinitely power remote buoys equipped with sensor arrays, as well as the electronics for processing and communications.

The electric generator is driven by the buoys wave-induced motion, eliminating the need for batteries to power the sensors and allowing extended operation of autonomous sensor buoys.

The buoy system design is customized and scalable (1-250 W) and can be suited to moored or drifting applications.

Applications for the technology include: recharging stations for unmanned underwater vehicles, replacement or augmentation for solar power, elimination of batteries, sonar listening stations, weather monitoring buoys, wave monitoring buoys, tsunami warning stations and port monitoring buoys.

Further Reading:
Ocean Wave Energy Harvesting Buoy for Sensors
Electro Standards Laboratory