Photo: HiPerGator AI supercomputer (Photo by Hannah Pietrick, UF Photography)

New generation turns to tidal energy using high tech

An all-female team of ‘hackers’ was declared the winner of the national technology contest – set up by the University of Florida and IBM – for their work on tidal energy and its positive contribution to the fight against climate change.

HiPerGator AI supercomputer (Photo by Hannah Pietrick, UF Photography)
HiPerGator AI supercomputer (Photo by Hannah Pietrick, UF Photography)

The team, Gator Gulf Energy – comprised of three current University of Florida students and a recent graduate – will be awarded a $30,000 grand prize.

As winners, the team will also earn access to UF’s HiPerGator AI, one of the fastest supercomputers in U.S. higher education, to work on a future project of their choosing.

The team focused on tidal energy, and conducted a study that called for the installation of 10 tidal turbines off the coast of Jacksonville.

They found that as many as 4,000 homes could be powered by tidal energy per year. Additionally, using the 10 turbines to power those homes could offset as much as 3,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, the team concluded.

“If we can hone in on a specific spot on our coastline and generate real data from it and really show people actual numbers and actual calculations of how implementing a system … would help reduce our carbon dioxide output and our carbon footprint and save energy … that’s how we can make this really impactful,” said one of the members of the winning team Stephanie Stelzer.

More than 1,000 participants of the hackathon had 12 weeks to produce solutions while using IBM technologies, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

“Out of all of the hackathon submissions, Gator Gulf Energy was one of a kind in that it used both complex mathematical modeling/analysis as well CAD designs that perfectly created a template for future analysis. This also makes the project easily adaptable for multiple future use cases to expand upon its positive impact on the environment,” said Gabriela de Queiroz, the chief data scientist in AI strategy & innovation at IBM.