COAST Student Internships Summer 2016

Seatrec, Inc. Thermal Energy Generator Internship


Host: Seatrec, Inc. is a technology startup company based in Pasadena, California. Seatrec is commercializing the ocean thermal energy harvesting technology developed at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology (Caltech). With exclusive license from JPL/Caltech for the two granted patents, Seatrec is developing a thermal energy generator that can be used to power environmental sensors and sensor platforms where there is sufficient thermal energy associated with temperature differentials.


Internship Dates: June 6 - August 19, 2016; start and end dates flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments.

Stipend: $4,000.00

Time Commitment: The internship is a full time, 11-week commitment. Over the 11 weeks, the intern may take up to five days off for personal reasons, vacation or illness. If participation is less than 100%, the stipend will be pro-rated.

Position Description and Responsibilities: One (1) internship is available working with scientists and engineers at Seatrec. Seatrec is developing a thermal energy generator that can convert relatively small (10°C) temperature differences into electricity. This type of temperature differential can be found over 2/3 of the world ocean where the surface waters are significantly warmer than waters at depths. Over land in certain off-grid areas where the conventional renewable sources (e.g., solar) are not available, there is often sufficient temperature change between day and night to generate electricity also. The harvested energy can be used to power environmental sensors and sensor platforms or stored in rechargeable batteries for future use. The intern will be involved in the design, build and test of the thermal energy generator and its integration with a selected ocean or land device. Specific tasks include: (1) selection and test of phase change materials that yield a volume change in response to temperature variations, (2) selection and test of power generation subsystem with different hydraulic motors and electrical generators, (3) design and build of a control board and software needed to test the end-to-end system in a relevant environment.

Preferred Experience and Capabilities: Experience with a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) such as Solidworks and/or LabView software is desirable.

Skills Gained: Intern will gain hands-on experience in scientific research and technology/engineering development in the field of renewable energy harvesting and applications. Specific skills gained include 3D CAD design, system engineering to develop and verify requirements, LabView software for command and control, integration and test of a commercial prototype.

Eligibility/Requirements: The internship is intended for upperclassmen (juniors/seniors) and graduate students. Applicants must have completed courses in engineering. Interns must be able to keep excellent laboratory notes, get along well with others, maintain professionalism, and be reliable.

Applicants are also subject to additional eligibility and requirements that can be found here.

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