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Redwood City, CA

Team Photo for SEWEC

Date Accepted
Wed 10 Jun 2015

Combined Score
5.2 (Technology Gate 2}

Team Info
The SEWEC team will be led by Nick Wynn.

Finalist Seal for the SEWEC group

The SEWEC team is a multi-disciplinary group assembled to compete in the Wave Energy Prize competition as a first step in deploying the SEWEC device in American oceans. All engineers, they contribute specialist know how in the following areas: (i) Byron Barnes - aerodynamics/fluid dynamics, (ii) Carol Bennett – media relations and funding co-ordination, (iii) Tom Benson – manufacturing wave energy concepts and tank testing, (iv) Nicholas Gray and Casey Birmingham – electrical and control, (v) Sean Lavelle – renewable energy primarily from waves. The SEWEC device is based on the technical knowledge, engineering and patented designs developed by Sea Energies Ltd.

WEC Device Type
Floating Oscillating Water column WEC with internal turbine generator.

Team Quote
“Let’s pacify the Pacific”

Team Bios
Nick Wynn has worked as a mechanical engineer on gas turbines and aviation test facilities, subsequently as a chemical engineer in the UK, Switzerland, Canada, Germany and recently in California as COO of Membrane Technology & Research Inc. Nick is a graduate mechanical engineer from the University of Surrey, UK, with an MS in chemical engineering from MIT. He founded the technology development company IProTech in 2015 and lives with his wife Carol Bennett in Redwood City, CA, where they run in the nearby hills and sail a Folkboat on San Francisco Bay.

Byron Barnes is a commercial pilot with an airline transport category rating and has been active in aviation and aeronautics for his entire adult life. He started flying airplanes at the age of 14 and building and flying model aircraft and rockets. Byron has amassed more than 10,000 hours of flight time and during his time as a professional pilot he has continued with his passion for engineering and aeronautics by remaining active in designing and building flying model aircraft. Byron lives in Benicia, California with his wife and two children, and his hobbies include sailing and woodworking.

Carol Bennett is currently employed as business development director with a major information and media service provider located in Silicon Valley. She has over 30 years of international business experience including M&A, and business development primarily in the areas of renewable energy, electronics & technology as well as chemicals. As senior vice president at Sulzer she was responsible for strategic planning and M&A activity of the corporation and led a team to complete over 50 transactions including acquisitions, divestitures, management buy-out and joint ventures. Carol holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from N.C. State University and an M.B.A. from Thunderbird.

Tom Benson is a Mechanical Engineering graduate of the University of Surrey, UK and founder of Benson Engineering Ltd. In Killarney, a founding member of the Irish Wave Energy Developers Association (IWEDA). Benson Engineering has developed its innovative wave pump through the early TRL gates, successfully tank testing the concept at 1/50th scale and 1/15th scale. Extensive experience has been gained in the wave energy field in numerical modelling, model building and tank testing. A ¼ scale model will be tested in the ¼ scale Smart Bay test site in the sea in Galway Bay Ireland in Q4 2015 and 2016. This device is fixed to the sea bed and driven by a point absorber buoy.

Sean Lavelle is the owner of Sea Energies Ltd and inventor of the SEWEC device. Sean is a mechanical engineering graduate of the University of Limerick and Trinity College, Dublin and owns and operates a fleet of class leading purpose built vessels to undertake oceanographic and geophysical surveys, dive support, shore logistics support, navigation buoy, beacon and rapid response. Sean has been developing the SEWEC device for the past eight years and has tested the device in a number of wave energy basins in Ireland. The SEWEC15 device has also successfully been deployed offshore in Blacksod Bay, Co. Mayo Ireland.

All team members live on the west coast of a continent and see serious waves much of the time – five are based in California and two in Ireland.


Team SEWEC prepares to test at Carderock
Did we draw the long straw or the short straw when we heard in July that we would be the last team to test our device in the MASK basin at Carderock?
September 23, 2016
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SEWEC prepares for testing in October
The last month has seen a flurry of activity. On June 19th we finished the 1/20th scale model and loaded it into the crate...
July 15, 2016
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SEWEC assembles final 1/20 scale device
The past month has been even more hectic with final assembly of our 1/20th scale model - many components had to be “adjusted” to fit at the same...
June 20, 2016
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SEWEC constructs 1/20th scale model and continues modeling to learn more about the device
Team SEWEC is now assembling the 1/20th scale device. Photo 1 shows Johansing Iron Works welder Nick grinding out the final welds on on our device...
May 15, 2016
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SEWEC April video update
Team SEWEC is frantically executing our build plan. There’s a lot going on and the following video captures one small victory. The photo shows team...
April 15, 2016
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SEWEC placing P/O’s to support 1:20 scale model build
We regret that Florent Thiebaut has decided to leave Team SEWEC. We thank Florent wholeheartedly for his contribution to our WEP effort. Team...
March 22, 2016
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SEWEC welcomes new team members
Team SEWEC is pleased to announce that Dr. Paul McEvoy has just joined our team. Paul is Technical Director at TFI Marine, a global leader in marine..
February 12, 2016
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SEWEC working control strategy
The SEWEC team is busy with plans for the 1/20th scale tests. We are working diligently to fine tune an adaptive control strategy that will turn up...
January 15, 2016
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DISCLAIMER: The team information provided on this page is provided solely by SEWEC. The Wave Energy Prize is not responsible for its accuracy, legality, decency of material or intellectual-property compliance.