Thatcher Island Lighthouse


Do Engineers sit in cubicles all day solving math problems and staring at a computer? NO WAY!

This is just one of the myths that the Nerd Girls are breaking about engineers. In our free time, we like to do all the things that "normal" people do, like sports, music, dance, shopping and hanging out with our friends.
We don’t live on the computer or in laboratories and we are doing fun and cool stuff.

Our latest project is working on Thatcher Island, situated off the coast of Rockport, Massachusetts. It is the last operating Twin Light House in the United States. This historic landmark is owned by the Town of Rockport and is intended for educational and conservation purposes. It has two buildings in addition to the two lighthouses. One building is a keeper’s house and the other is a guesthouse. The Island is also home to fish and wildlife and a portion of the Island is overseen by the National Fish and Wildlife organization.

Providing power and potable water has always been an issue on the Island. Fresh water is collected and has some filtration, yet it is not recommended for drinking since it is contaminated with wildlife waste. It’s actually gross!

There is a 6000-foot power cable, like a giant extension cord, running from the coast of Rockport into the Atlantic Ocean to the Island. Unfortunately, this power line has been severed due to the strong ocean currents and repaired many times. It is believed that water has seeped into the power line and the amount of electricity reaching the island is far less than is expended on the land side of the cable.

The Nerd Girl Team is creating alternative energy systems on the island for everything from; powering the lighthouse lights, running all the appliances in the houses, running the septic pump, heating the hot water, providing freshwater and even powering the electric car that is used to haul materials and take us cruising around the island.

The Island will become a banner program for the United States in renewable energy education and help preserve this National Landmark’s status as the last operating Twin Lighthouse in the United States. There are many inhabited islands off the coast of the United States that share the same energy issues as Thatcher Island. Getting fuel and resources to these islands is difficult and expensive. There is a need for practical, low-cost, efficient alternatives. This project will research methods for generating Hydrogen for water and harnessing Solar, Wind, and Wave Energy to provide energy to the two houses on the island.

Thatcher Island
Thatcher’s Lighthouse
Photo GalleryLighthouse_Photos.html