Distributed Embedded Energy Converters for Ocean Wave Energy Harvesting: Enabling a Domain of Transformative Technologies: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Distributed embedded energy conversion technology (DEEC-Tec) is a very promising - but underdeveloped - domain in marine renewable energy research. The technology utilizes small distributed embedded energy converters (DEECs) that, in aggregate, form a much larger energy harvesting-converting structure. Each DEEC is a small transducer - an individual mechanism that converts one form of energy into another. A transducer's specific mode of operation can be based upon any number of physical phenomena, including variable capacitance, variable magnetic fields, or piezoelectrics. It is the dynamic deformation of a structure made from such DEECs (a DEEC-Tec structure) that provides the needed physical phenomena (the external energy source) for the underlying transducers to intake and convert energy into another form, such as electricity. DEEC-Tec structures designed specifically to dynamically deform in the presence of ocean wave energy - for the purpose of harvesting and converting that energy - can be called flexWECs. A flexWEC's gross shape (topology) and its compliant characteristics (morphologies) are chiefly determined by how the DEECs making up its structure are arranged and implemented. In turn, those corresponding topologies and morphologies will largely determine how a flexWEC interacts with - and dynamically deforms within - the presence of ocean wave energy. FlexWECs appear to have many attractive features, including broad-banded ocean energy conversion, in situ energy conversion throughout an entire flexWEC structure, inherent redundancy, and appealing material and manufacturing costs. To this end, the design and development of any particular flexWEC or flexWEC feature is a revolutionary opportunity for how we conceptualize and envision the future of ocean wave energy conversion.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2021
EventEuropean Wave and Tidal Energy Conference - Plymouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sep 20219 Sep 2021


ConferenceEuropean Wave and Tidal Energy Conference
CityPlymouth, United Kingdom

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5700-81751 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5700-80484


  • DEEC-Tec
  • DEECs
  • distributed embedded energy conversion technology
  • flexible transducers
  • FlexWEC
  • manufacture
  • marine renewable energy
  • materials
  • wave energy conversion
  • WECs


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