Renewable Ocean Energy

Research Focus Aea
Research Focus Area Overview

Society’s reliance on fossil fuels is not sustainable. Developing novel approaches of generating electrical power without fossil fuel use, is critical. Research related to harnessing energy from the “motion of the ocean” is in its infancy. However, our researchers are examining the possibility of harnessing ocean currents, such as the Gulf Stream, and waves to provide clean energy, as well as the possible environmental implications. This cutting-edge research, including field and modeling approaches, aims to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels while simultaneously providing for the energy needs of an ever-growing coastal population.

Research Labs

Oceanography & Marine Hydrokinetic Energy Ocean Lab
Geochemistry &
Coastal Dynamics
Coastal Engineering & Adaptation
Coastal Marine Processes & Geomorphology Lab
of the Coast
Coasts &
Ecology & Biogeochemistry
in Marine & Coastal
Systems Lab

Renewable Ocean Energy News

CSI Open House To Be Held June 4
CSI Open House To Be Held June 4

Spend June 4th on Roanoke Island! Check out Dare Days in Manteo, grab some lunch in town, then come on over to the beautiful ECU Outer Banks Campus for the highly-anticipated revival of the Coastal Studies Institute’s annual Open House.After a two-year hiatus, CSI’s...

And The Award Goes To… Waves to Water Prize Announces Winners
And The Award Goes To… Waves to Water Prize Announces Winners

After a successful, albeit different than expected, DRINK Finale, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the winners of the Waves to Water Prize- a competition designed to accelerate the development of small, modular, wave-energy-powered desalination...

A Waves to Water Prize DRINK Finale Update
A Waves to Water Prize DRINK Finale Update

A Successful DeploymentBrandon Poythress of Mark Zero Prototypes watches as his team's device is lifted over the pier railing and lowered to the sea surface.On April 3, 2022, all four devices entered in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Waves to Water Prize...

Led by East Carolina University (ECU), The Coastal Studies Institute is a multi-institutional research and educational partnership of the UNC System including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, and Elizabeth City State University.


Based at the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP) advances inter-disciplinary marine energy solutions across UNC System partner colleges of engineering at NC State University, UNC Charlotte, and NC A&T University.


ECU's Integrated Coastal Programs (ECU ICP) is a leader in coastal and marine research, education, and engagement.   ECU ICP includes the Coastal Studies Institute, ECU's Department of Coastal Studies, and ECU Diving and Water Safety.


The faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as departments and organizations including ECU Department of Biology, ECU Department of Coastal Studies, NC Sea Grant, the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.


Tour the ECU Outer Banks Campus and learn about the research, education, and engagement projects of CSI and ECU Integrated Coastal Programs through our 360 virtual tour.


The ECU Outer Banks campus is home to the Coastal Studies Institute.
Located on Roanoke Island along the banks of the second largest estuary
in the United States, this coastal campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and estuarine ecosystems.