A wave power generator that can harvest energy no matter which way the sea is running has won the UK round of James Dyson's engineering award.
The Renewable Wave Power generator seeks to overcome the limitations of some current tidal power technologies.
These work best when struck by waves travelling in one direction and are less efficient in more turbulent seas.
The generator uses loosely coupled pistons to reap power from tidal waters that flow unpredictably.
British sea power
The win means that Sam Etherington, who created the generator, gets £2,000 to create a bigger prototype that will undergo tests in water tanks to prove its efficacy.
The engineering graduate studied mechanical design at Brunel University in London, and now lives in the Lake District.
Mr Etherington said some of the inspiration for the design came when he was kite surfing off the coast of Cumbria in seas where waves rarely travelled in a predictable fashion.
To harness the energy that abounds in such restless waters, Mr Etherington came up with a design that uses a long chain of loosely linked enclosed pistons. Energy is generated as the chain of generators flexes in the peaks and troughs of each wave.