Sea Potential

Bristol, RI

Team Photo for Sea Potential

Date Accepted

Mon 08 Jun 2015

Combined Score

5.6 (Technology Gate 2}

Team Info

Sea Potential will be led by Tim MacDonald.

The “Sea Potential” team brings together a combination of leading technical experts in the design and analysis of offshore wave energy systems and commercial and legal experience from the more mature renewable energy sectors of wind, solar, biomass and geothermal.

Sea Potential is a development initiative, in partnership with Pure Marine Gen Ltd. out of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Pure Marine Gen have developed the technical knowledge, engineering and patented designs for the offshore wave energy converter called DUO and ultimately the team aim to use the Wave Energy Prize competition as a step towards deployment of DUO demonstration projects and wave farms off the coasts of North America.

The “Sea Potential” team has set up their LLC in Bristol, RI. Rhode Island is the Ocean State with a long and deep tradition of marine innovation and manufacturing that is also proximate to University Centers in Boston, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod, and the world financial centers of New York City - making it uniquely well-suited to for the “Sea Potential” team to incubate, finance and commercialize the DUO wave energy converter for electricity power generating arrays.

The team’s ambition in competing in the “Wave Energy Prize” is to achieve technical and commercial validation of the DUO wave energy converter as a technology that can set a new benchmark for energy production from ocean waves and, in doing so, transform the economics of capturing the large renewable energy resources available to coastal nations and communities around the world.

WEC Device Type

A multi-mode power capture point absorber called DUO.

Team Quote

The Sea Potential team’s research into new designs for wave energy converters has focused on addressing the major challenge facing the emergence of a viable wave energy industry – how to produce more electricity at a lower cost.

The Wave Energy Prize (WEP) competition provides the opportunity to prove the new DUO design against alternative concepts. The competition offers a clear and transparent bench-marking process that will give confidence to potential investors that the world’s abundant offshore wave energy resources can be harvested in a commercially competitive manner.

Team Bios

Tim MacDonald

A lawyer by vocation, Tim integrates diverse experiences in finance, investment, and associated commercial transactions and their regulation, across multiple capital formation systems.

As President at Meridian Clean Fuels LLC, led the construction of partnership investments in Renewable Energy, including negotiation of land leases, turbine supply agreements, operations and maintenance contracts, power purchase agreements and limited liability company operating agreements for projects deploying Wind, Solar, Biomass, Geothermal and Fuel Cell technologies, for both utility-scale and distributed power generation.

Tim is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College (BA Philosophy) and holds a JD degree, magna cum laude, from Boston College Law School.

Paul Brewster

Co-founder and Technical Director of Pure Marine Gen Ltd. - a specialist marine energy company undertaking research into new technologies and design / numerical analysis tools for the wave & tidal energy sectors.

Paul is co-inventor of the DUO wave energy converter and technical team leader on the research, design & development of marine energy technology that has included:

  • Design, development and prototype testing of wave energy devices;
  • Deployment & sea trials of prototypes;
  • Site development for wave energy converter arrays and tidal turbine array projects;
  • Strategic research & analysis studies for government departments on marine renewables markets and test facilities required for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy sectors;

Paul is a Principle expert on International project teams for the International Electrotechnical Commission’s technical committee (TC114) for the preparation of international standards for marine energy conversion systems and an acknowledged contributor to the development of “Ocean Energy: Development & evaluation protocol” and “Accessible Wave Energy Resource Atlas: Ireland: 2005” and participant in key industry projects in the Ocean energy sector, including the Carbon Trust’s “Marine Energy Challenge”.

B.Eng. Civil Engineering, Queens University Belfast; Ph.D. “Modelling the Wash from a Ship’s propeller”, Dept Civil Engineering & Dept Aeronautical Engineering, Queens University Belfast.

Philip Irwin

Co-founder and Director of Pure Marine Gen Ltd and co-inventor of the DUO wave energy converter.

Philip has over ten year’s experience in the wave energy sector in Europe – leading start-up companies, securing grant funding & investment for development projects and design of power take off systems.

Previously he led engineering development & sales teams at Shorts Defence Systems, that launched and established the S1-MAT simulator in international markets – Europe, Middle East and North America.

B.Sc. Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Professional Studies, Queen’s University Belfast; Ph.D. ‘Algorithms and Architectures for Real-Time Image Understanding’, Queen’s University Belfast; MBA Specialising in Strategic Management and Finance, Open Business School.

Paraic Higgins

Senior Engineer with over six years experience on R&D projects for the DUO wave energy converter - developing coupled mechanical-hydrodynamc modelling tools and designing & testing scaled prototypes for wave tank testing.

Paraic is an experienced Mechanical Design Engineer, having previously worked for manufacturers of mobile quarry screening equipment for the global quarry industry.

Project experience includes:

  • Wave energy device design & development.
  • Mechanical design & detailed Engineering drawings;
  • Dynamic analysis of offshore structures & marine energy devices;

Paraic has a Masters Degree in Renewable Energy Systems from Dundalk Institute of Technology with a research project on “Array Effects of Wave Energy devices”.


​Learn more about Sea Potential at their website:

  • Sea Potential finishes up at Carderock

    Posted on Mon 26 Sep 2016

    Our testing at MASK is complete and this brings to an end our WEP journey.

    Many thanks to everyone who has helped the Sea Potential team – hopefully we will get opportunities to work together again soon.

    We would also like to thank the team at Carderock and WEP – it has been a great opportunity to demonstrate the DUO wave technology and the experience from the final test weeks at MASK have be of immense value as we begin the next phase of development for the DUO.

    Hope to catch up with everyone again at the Innovation Showcase event in November.

    Cuan Boake (Applied Renewables Research) puts the final touches to the power supply and data acquisition system for the DUO.
    Cuan Boake (Applied Renewables Research) puts the final touches to the power supply and data acquisition system for the DUO.
    The DUO deployed in the MASK test facility.
    The DUO deployed in the MASK test facility.
    The DUO in action in the WEP final.
    The DUO in action in the WEP final.
  • Sea Potential prepares for testing at Carderock

    Posted on Mon 22 Aug 2016

    After some much needed holidays following the final push to get the 1/20 model shipped, the excitement among the Sea Potential team is beginning to build towards our testing at MASK in September.

    Going through the the checklists for all the tools and equipment we need for the assembly is our main focus at the moment - with some of our team coming over from Ireland the pre-test / assembly week in Carderock will also help us to acclimatize to the weather conditions!

  • Sea Potential tests at U of Maine facility and ships device to Carderock

    Posted on Thu 21 Jul 2016

    We were setup and ready for some wet-testing in University of Maine’s new W2 Wind-Wave Basin when we got confirmation that we were going to Carderock. It has been a great effort to date from all involved with the Sea Potential team and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring the prize back to the “Ocean State”.

    We had heard about the impressive facilities in UMaine’s Orono campus from the teams that did their 50th scale tests at the W2 Wind-Wave Basin and were looking forward to getting the DUO launched into action.

    Many thanks to all the team in Maine for their technical support and generous hospitality.

    Roll on Carderock!

  • A big week for team SeaPotential and the 1/20 scale DUO

    Posted on Sat 18 Jun 2016

    This week the ring and float structures arrived in our temporary work space in the HawkWorks at Roger Williams University, delivered by a team of first-rate metal fabricators at Bristol Rhode Island based Luther’s welding.

    After some initial testing, to make sure all the pieces fit (supervised by Team Leader, Tim MacDonald’s pug, Paco), and some wiring of our control panel by local electrician Bud Souza, Chief Technologist Paul Brewster is comforted we know have a complete kit.

    So, we loaded up our kit, and headed up to Maine to do some tinkering in the test tank at the University of Maine, in Orono.

  • Sea Potential at Team Summit then back to work

    Posted on Fri 13 May 2016

    It was great to meet all the teams and Prize administrators at the “Team Summit” in Washington. Phone calls and webinars are good – meeting the people and personalities face to face is much better and it was an excellent idea for the Wave Energy Prize to arrange this.

    The visit to Carderock to see the test facilities was the highlight of the week - it was a bit like walking the pitch before a big championship game!

    Great idea and it is doubtful if any team could deliver a successful test performance without this initial briefing and first-hand experience of the impressive MASK facilities.

    It was then back to action with construction of the 1/20 model – with the support from the engineering and manufacturing talents Rhode Island has in abundance.

    Luther’s are doing a great job constructing the aluminium hulls structures and mechanical components and it’s great to see the parts from the drawings come to life.

    We want to also give a special mention to the team at Roger Williams University who are co-ordinating the component deliveries s and providing the facilities at their Hawkworks Lab for the assembly and component testing over the next few weeks. Tim is pictured at Hawkworks as we inspect the first shipment of parts from Luther’s to begin assembly.

    The next few weeks will be critical to the team’s success in the Prize competition and the challenging timescale of the WEP final is setting everyone’s pulse racing. There will be an enjoyable evening had by all in mid-July when the model has been delivered successfully!!

  • Sea Potential focuses on optimizing the 1:20 scale model

    Posted on Mon 18 Apr 2016

    The team’s focus at the moment is on optimizing the 1/20 model for the final.

    The analysis of the data from our 1/50 tests at University of Iowa and numerical modelling using the advanced coupled analysis features of Wood Group Kenny’s Flexcom software have helped identify some small structural improvements that will increase the ACE metric for the 1/20 model.

    The state-of-the-art coupled analysis capabilities of Flexcom are also key to optimizing the mooring design for the MASK basin – this will be important for the HPQ score that will determine prize winners from the teams that can exceed the 3.0 m/$m threshold.

    An animation from the Flexcom modelling is shown below.


    The other software Sea Potential are employing for the optimization work is the new techno-economic software from Exceedence. The unique “Goal Seek” and “Sensitivity” modules have enabled the Sea Potential team to identify where specific improvements can be made for the range incident wave conditions for the 1/20th-scale experiments at NSWC Carderock’s MASK. The Exceedence software will be a valuable asset in transforming the DUO’s performance data from the Wave Energy Prize into a finance model for wave energy farms around the world - a key step in making wave energy commercial.

    ExceedenceFINANCE software – making renewables commercial
    ExceedenceFINANCE software – making renewables commercial

    We are looking forward to the Team Summit at “Water Power Week” in Washington – with an opportunity to meet the other teams as well as catching up with colleagues from the wave energy sector.

    One of the more interesting opportunities that could emerge from the Wave Energy Prize is for teams to merge and co-operate to bring the promising technologies through to commercial reality – while some technologies will fall short of meeting the necessary performance metrics, the skills and capabilities from the wave energy prize teams can play an important role in achieving the longer term goals that everyone shares for the wave energy sector.

    One of the reasons for participating in and supporting the Prize is that for the first time in this emerging sector there is a clear and transparent bench-marking process that will give confidence to potential investors that the world’s abundant offshore wave energy resources can be harvested in a commercially competitive manner. Convergence around technology that produces independently verified performance metrics that can lead onto commercially viable wave energy technology is a key step to overcoming the fragmented nature of this nascent industry.

  • Sea Potential gathering support on both sides of Atlantic

    Posted on Tue 22 Mar 2016

    The Sea Potential team and its DUO technology has been gathering support on both sides of the Atlantic …

    “Technology developed by a Northern Ireland firm has shown it is among the best in the world of wave energy.” -

    The team also participated in the workshop arranged in conjunction with the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) in Edinburgh “Joint United States Department of Energy and Wave Energy Scotland workshop on wave energy converter technology requirement specification and performance metrics”

    The Wave Energy Prize was a hot topic of conversation among all the international attendees and wave energy aficionados at ICOE - with the finalists due to be announced a few days later.

    Thankfully the waiting is over …

  • SeaPotential updates US Congressman on progress

    Posted on Fri 12 Feb 2016

    Team SeaPotential had the honor and privilege, as guest of the Tinker|Bristol Manufacturing Incubator and Makerspace, to visit with US Congressman David Cicillini (D. RI), and to share updates on our progress in the Wave Energy Prize. Our report included our expression of gratitude for, and excitement about, the support we are receiving from Tinker|Bristol, and through introductions made by Tinker, from Roger Williams University and the local marine manufacturing business community.

    The Congressman was especially pleased to hear of our ambitions to build an ocean energy research, development and manufacturing center based in Bristol and powering the world.

    Also, the University of Iowa, where Team SeaPotential tank tested our 1/50th scale model of the DUO, published this news item on their participation as a tank testing venue in the Prize Contest at

    As our team awaits the news in March, we continue to work on fine-tuning designs and drawings for a 1/20th scale model of our DUO wave energy converter and building stronger connections into the local marine manufacturing community here in Bristol, RI, which is already home to many leading edge marine materials and manufacturing companies, both for continued support in our hoped-for continued competition for the Prize, and looking beyond the Prize, to quarter and eventually full-scale DUO design, development, testing and deployment as an important contributor to a new energy economy for the United States and the world.

  • SeaPotential introduces DUO to U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, RI

    Posted on Wed 20 Jan 2016

    Yesterday Tim MacDonald, as Team Leader of Team SeaPotential, and Andy Cole a graduate student in Architecture on loan to SeaPotential from Roger Williams University had the unique pleasure of introducing SeaPotential and our competition in the Wave Energy Prize to US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D RI) as the first enterprise-in-residence at Tinker|Bristol and a pioneer in the New Energy Economy.

    After the meeting with Sen. Whitehouse, Tinker steering committee member Halsey Herreshoff, a retired marine engineer, naval architect, entrepreneur, self-described tinkerer and 3rd generation boat-builder who is well known in yachting circles walked with Tim and Andy over to meet Bud Luther, an expert metal fabricator whose business is nearby Tinker|Bristol. After a living 45 minute exchange of ideas, Bud agreed he could do all the custom fabrication Team SeaPotential needs to build our 1/20 scale model of the DUO, making our team that much stronger!

    Below are a few pictures of some of the metal bending, cutting and shaping machines in Bud’s fabrication facilities.

DISCLAIMER: The team information provided on this page is provided solely by Sea Potential. The Wave Energy Prize is not responsible for its accuracy, legality, decency of material or intellectual-property compliance.

Back to Teams

EERE. Wave Energy Prize. U.S. Department of Energy. Jul, 2018, 13:22 EST. Available at: Accessed Jul, 2018.

EERE. "Wave Energy Prize." U.S. Department of Energy, July. 2018. Web. July. 2018.

EERE. "Wave Energy Prize,", U.S. Department of Energy, (accessed Jul, 2018).

EERE. Wave Energy Prize [Internet].; 2018 July, 13:22 EST [cited 2018 July]. Available from:

@ONLINE{U.S. Department of Energy:2018:Online, author = {EERE}, title = {Wave Energy Prize [email protected]}}, year = {2018}, url = {}, note = [Online; accessed Jul-2018] }