Thomas Boerner is co-founder of CalWave a wave energy startup out of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Thomas and his fellow team members at CalWave have developed a electro-mechanical mat that sits in the near shore zone and generates electricity as waves pass over the mat and cause the mat to compress pistons which drives generators. Thomas is a PhD candidate from the Hamburg University of Technology working together with the CalWave team at UC Berkeley.
Thomas says that one of his main influences is his brother who went into theoretical physics, but Thomas wanted to do something with more real world applications, "I decided to look into engineering. The applied idea of using science for real world problems, I think that's what fascinated me and made me go into engineering."
Immediately after Thomas got his bachelors in engineering, he completed an internship in China working on wind energy equipment manufacturing. "At that point, I realized that wind energy doesn't really work out without knowing anything about the business and the economies behind it. I also realized that the field of wind power is already optimized to the maximum ... So I felt that other [fields of clean energy] that might not have been worked on yet, might be more interesting to me". After his experience in China, Thomas got a degree in business as well as Masters in engineering from RWTH Aachen University in Aachen Germany. During his mechanical engineering studies Thomas worked with the CalWave team and wrote his Master’s thesis on modeling of the CalWave energy converter. Thomas is currently working on his PhD in engineering while working with the CalWave team.