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Raymond Breault ’16 hopes to turn the ocean into energy

Next year, if all goes according to plan, Raymond Breault ’16 will make waves by harnessing the power of waves.

A cross-country runner at SI, Breault has a fascination for water because of what he sees most days on his running circuit. “It’s awesome seeing the waves off Lands End while staying in shape.”

That experience led him to register for a course at Cal in oceanography during the summer between his sophomore and junior years. Breault would run in the morning and take BART to Berkeley for the course.

There, he learned about geology, ecology, tectonic plates and the dangers of climate change, all of which gave him the idea of developing a machine that would generate electricity through the power of waves and tides. For physics at SI, he developed a Ruben’s tube, which uses propane and flames to generate waves, to help him better understand the qualities of waves, and he is pondering prototypes that he will work on while studying mechanical engineering at, he hopes, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

In the meantime, he isn’t waiting to make a difference. He worked for Brisbane’s Department of Public Works for a month last summer inspecting water pumps, pump stations and storage tanks to ensure that they were up to code. He also tested for water quality and created a map of all the catch basins in Brisbane.

“Most cities don’t worry too much about trash entering the Bay, but Brisbane works to limit it through trash catchers.”

Breault saw more in those trash catchers than you can imagine, including shirts, measure tape, pencils and paint, along with the typical flotsam and jetsam.

He took the job in part because of his love for his community. “I like to sit on the deck outside my home and watch the fog roll in over San Bruno Mountain. It’s gorgeous, and I love admiring the view.”

Joining him from that SI that summer were fellow Ignatians Justin Yuen ’14 and Krey Hacker ’16 at he DPW with Camila Aguilar ’14 working in the City Manager’s office.

Even in middle school, Breault honed his sense of stewardship by studying solar panels to see if they could be made more efficient through the use of magnifying lenses. His studies proved inconclusive, partly because he couldn’t find a large enough lens, but he did win first prize for his eighth grade science fair.

“It has been great learning about the environment while helping to preserve it for everyone else,” he added.

 

Posted by Mr. Paul J. Totah on Thursday December, 31, 2015

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