‘Tidal jellyfish’ from Georgia Tech joins $100K race

Illustration (Photo: Pixabay/Creative Commons CC0)

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s engineering team has been selected as finalist in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge for designing a tidal energy harvester inspired by nature.

A multidisciplinary team from Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering have created a nature-inspired energy generator that produces clean renewable electricity from underwater sea currents.

Namely, the design of the converter features innovations inspired by the bell-shaped body of jellyfish, the positioning of schools of fish, the movement heart valves to transport liquid, and the ability of algae to adapt rapidly to flowing water to maximize photosynthesis.

The goal of the team, named FullCircle, is to create a more efficient way to generate power, decrease cost, and make the approach available to areas vulnerable to electricity shortage, according to Georgia Tech.

The FullCircle team is now competing with 7 other finalist teams as part of a 2018-19 Biomimicry Launchpad, an accelerator that supports early-stage entrepreneurs on their path to commercialization.

At the end of this year’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, one team will win $100,000 bestowed by Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize.

Over 60 teams from 16 countries entered the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, submitting nature-inspired inventions to reverse, mitigate, or adapt to climate change.

The FullCircle team (Photo: Georgia Tech)

According to Ananya Jain, Research Leader from School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), the team will coordinate the engineering project and assemble a prototype remotely, from different parts of the world – India, Japan, Pakistan, Spain, and the US.

“We have a great challenge to be working from different time zones and schedules. But we will do our very best and work even harder moving forward,” said Jain.

Professor Jeannette Yen from the School of Biological Sciences served as primary faculty mentor for the project, together with professors Preet Singh and Zhong Lin Wang who also served as official research mentors. In addition, the team had access to second and third lines of researchers, graduate student advisors, and investors.

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