FAU Graduate Looking to Revolutionize Oil Spill Clean Up

By Brittany Sylvestri | August 7, 2018

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ME Grad

A disabled veteran with an entrepreneurial spirit, Frederick Brunn always dreamed of being a successful mechanical engineer. On Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 1 p.m., he will make that dream come true, as he walks across the stage to be handed a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.

Brunn, a Jupiter resident, completed three deployments during his time in the United States Navy: Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as Operation Enduring Freedom, and was one of the first deployed to the horn of Africa when hostages were on board a shipping vessel. He served as a gas turbine mechanic and was very successful quickly moving up in ranks. 

“Serving in the U.S. Navy was a cornerstone of my life,” said Brunn. “I learned so much.”

After four years serving his country, Brunn retired and decided to go to school full time. He first attended Palm Beach State College where he received an associate degree, then transferred to FAU in fall 2014.

As a hobby, Brunn always has been passionate about the water and joined the Freediving Club through FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering two years ago. While freediving, Brunn tried spearfishing but he could not find a speargun with the power and accuracy that fit his hand the way that he wanted, so he decided to make his own.

Fellow divers began to admire his speargun creation. Soon word got out about the innovative product, and requests started to come in from others who were interested in having one specially crafted for themselves. A big following of supporters quickly followed, and a company was born. Slayer Spearguns specializes in carbon fiber, creating the fastest loading speargun in the world.

Brunn currently holds three provisional patents, two for products he created and sells for his company, and one for an autonomous hydrocarbon skimming vessel that he created alongside his mentor at FAU, Oscar Curet, Ph.D., assistant professor in FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering. The autonomous hydrocarbon skimming vessel has the potential to revolutionize the way oil spills are cleaned up.

“I had Fred in a few of my classes including thermodynamics and engineering design,” said Curet. “It has been rewarding to see his progress, motivation and dedication throughout the mechanical engineering program. There is no doubt in my mind he will continue to be successful.”

Brunn’s company also caught the attention of Rafael Addison, a retired NBA player, who arranged for Brunn to meet with him in New York City to design his own speargun based on Addison’s hand, body structure, and style of hunting.

After graduation, Brunn plans to focus on his company’s various growth opportunities and find new ways to capitalize the market.

“My company is a labor of love, but it’s my passion,” he said.