A company housed at the Oakland University Smartzone Business Incubator is receiving international attention for an invention which could potentially revolutionize clean energy throughout the Great Lakes region and beyond.

Wave Water Works LLC, founded by inventor and long-time engineer Phil Padula, is in the testing phases for its patented Oscillo Drive which creates clean, electrical energy from the motion of the waves. The device converts bi-directional rotating movement, or oscillation, into a single direction-rotational movement. As the wave rises and falls, gears capture the mechanical energy created, which is then transferred through a generator to create electricity.
The company is currently launching its first test-site on the water at an undisclosed location in Port Huron but has already received potential offers for partnerships from Macomb County, Israel and Lebanon. The device produces no odors, smoke, or other harmful factors to the environment, according to Chuck Keys, project director and business manager for Wave Water Works.

With some tweaking, the Oscillo Drive could also work to capture energy from places like the back of a truck or a swaying skyscraper— any kind of oscillation which produces enough mechanical energy to be converted into electricity. When asked how much power each device can create, Keys said that less than five Oscillo Drives could potentially power an entire port city.

“Take Northville for example. A few of these could light up the downtown area … The applications for this drive are endless, we don’t even know all of them yet, the industry will definitely decide where it’s going to go,” Keys said. “We’re going to make it available and look for strategic partners who have a common interest to help develop it with us.”

The company is also in talks with water filtration system manufacturers in Indiana to explore options of attaching those systems to the device, essentially creating completely hydro-powered water filters which have the potential to clean up or mitigate algae blooms. The same could potentially be done for air filtration.

“The market is there for the taking. Hydro-energy is the least popular (compared to solar and wind energy), it has the least amount of competition, and yet, it’s completely renewable. It never ends. There is no end to ocean waves, they literally continue on forever and every time we look at them we can see there is a huge potential that is untapped,” Keys said.

As a client at the Oakland University Incubator, Wave Water Works has worked with 43 students from Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, totalling an estimated value of $1.5 million in professional engineering services over the past two years.