Michael Bernitsas

Mortimer E. Cooley Collegiate Professor of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, College of Engineering
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
(734) 764-9317

Professor Bernitsas’s research thrusts include mooring system dynamics, structural redesign and topology/material evolution, riser and pipeline mechanics, and current energy conversion. He invented and designed an Ocean Current Energy Converter that captures the abundant hydrokinetic energy in ocean and river currents, using an approach that included developing environmentally compatible technologies mimicking phenomena natural to the marine environment, enhancing rather than suppressing Vortex Induced Vibrations, using surface roughness to control turbulence distribution, and implementing fish kinematics. With guidance from the Office of Technology Transfer, Professor Bernitsas founded a company, Vortex Hydro Energy, to help design and sell the device. They are on track to build a prototype that could generate up to 50 kilowatts—enough to power several houses next to a river.


Research Interests: 
Hydrokinetic energy conversion, enhancement of high-damping, high-Reynolds flow induced motion, suppression of vortex induced vibrations. marine riser mechanics, mooring system dynamics.