"I believe it'll change the world," said second-generation inventor Tom Woodbridge, a NASA engineer.
The renewed interest in finding cheap, plentiful and renewable energy has rekindled interest in the work of Woodbridge
knows about 20 other companies trying to get energy from the sea.
Alternative energy is in the forefront again as high fuel costs after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the nation's oil refineries and Americans' wallets.
Federal officials estimate that all types of fuel will cost Americans one-third more this winter if temperatures are average.
, a bookish 45-year-old with wire glasses whose old Hobie surfboard hangs in the den above his computer, is chasing an elusive prize that his father, David, now 84 and retired, never caught.
The elder Woodbridge founded Aqua-Magnetics Inc., a small company that Tom now runs.
But after tinkering with the idea off and on for years, Tom Woodbridge
is making a final push toward making his
father's dream a reality.
has six U.S. and international patents, a $30,000 grant from the State's Technological Research and Development Authority and prototypes that take up most of the family garage in Satellite Beach.
has added $10,000 of his
own money to the project.
father's idea, to use the rocking motion of the waves to generate electricity, came from looking at his
son's Slinky toy back in 1972.
After noticing how easily it transferred energy, he
thought, "why not use something like the Slinky as a coil that rocks?"
has a system that follows his
father's principle of capitalizing on the rocking.
needs about $550,000 for 18 months of development for three ocean-trial models, and he
expects it will cost $4.2 million to complete through production.
has had a lot of inquiries but not a lot of investors.
"No one wants to give just a couple hundred thousand," he
has heard naysayers for years, but his
wife, Amelia, and two daughters believe in him.
determined to make it work.
"Maybe I'll get rich and famous; maybe I won't," he
"But I want to get into the history book of energy as the man who made this work."
father's name will be there next to his