Who he is:
Professor Alex Slocum’s research interests include
nanotechnology, precision engineering, machine
design and product design. A faculty member in
MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Slocum is a self-described “gizmologist”
who designs machines ranging from medical
instruments to manufacturing equipment to big
renewable energy machines. He received his BS,
MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering
What research he is demonstrating:
Professor Slocum will demonstrate an offshore renewable energy system for generation and
storage, in which excess power from a wind turbine pumps water out of a storage vessel
anchored to the seabed. The technology operates by having water flow through a turbine into
the storage volume when the power is needed.
Why it matters:
This storage system enables offshore power generation when the wind is not blowing and power
is needed, and can also be used for mooring a floating wind turbine. Storage is a key enabling
technology for intermittent renewables such as wind.
Slocum and his colleagues plan to make a test system consisting of a 10 kW windmill mounted
on a barge, where the power would be stored onboard. Once the concept is proven at this scale,
they would move to a 100 kW machine, and then a 1 MW machine. Ultimately, they hope
to combine this proposal with a novel system for mounting offshore windmills that is being
developed by MIT professor Paul Sclavounos.