Many organizations which conduct oceanographic research, such as CSIRO, make use of electronic sensors for monitoring ocean conditions. At present, these sensors are powered by batteries, but this causes their deployment time to be limited by battery life. This limitation could potentially be overcome by harvesting energy from the environments surrounding the sensors.
One such source of energy is ocean currents. In many contexts, ocean currents are not considered attractive for power generation due to their low speed and corresponding low power density. However, this low power density can still be sufficient to meet low power requirements of sensors. Therefore, WERL, with the support of CSIRO, is pursuing the development of a current energy conversion device with a target power output in the 1-10 W range.