Media Relations

Press Release:


FAU’s SeaTech - Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering Receives Funding from Department of Energy in Support of Harnessing Ocean Energy

BOCA RATON, Fla. (October 3, 2013) – Manhar Dhanak, Ph.D, director of SeaTech - Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering in Dania Beach, director of research, Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center and professor in the department of ocean and mechanical engineering at Florida Atlantic University, has been awarded a $400,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to characterize electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions associated with transmission of power from an offshore energy generating device to an onshore station and assess its impact on marine life.  The observational work would be carried out at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division’s South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility (SFOMF) in Fort Lauderdale.

Dhanak, the principal investigator of the two-year project, and co-investigator Richard Spieler, Ph.D, a professor at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), will lead a team of graduate students, engineers and researchers from FAU’s SeaTech and NSU and collaborate with personnel from SFOMF.

“This is an important collaborative project between FAU, NSU and SFOMF that builds on previous collaborative work on marine magnetics between the partners,” said Dhanak.

The purpose of the project is to monitor and assess how electromagnetic fields affect the behavior of local marine species and sea‐floor communities.Researchers will distinguish EMF emissions from existing cables on the SFOMF range and their impact on marine life using sensors and cameras from an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that is mounted on the sea floor. The data gathered from the AUV will be used to measure EMF emissions that are representative of typical marine hydrokinetic equipment that may be sited offshore and characterizing marine life activity.

The project will establish a database of field measurements, and use it in conjunction with project collaborator NSU to assess the potential ecological impacts of the electromagnetic fields on individual organisms, populations and communities in the vicinity.

“We are pleased to be partnering with FAU on this project,” said Spieler. “The research will add substantial knowledge to our understanding of the interactions between electrical fields and marine life.” 

The research data gathered from this project will help ensure that potential environmental impacts are addressed proactively as wave, tidal and offshore wind devices are developed for alternative energy sources.  

For more information, contact Manhar Dhanak, Ph.D., at


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Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science is committed to providing accessible and responsive programs of education and research recognized nationally for their high quality. Course offerings are presented on-campus, off-campus, and through distance learning in bioengineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, geomatics engineering, mechanical engineering and ocean engineering.  For more information about the college, please visit .

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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