The movement of the ocean: using sea waves to desalinate seawater
This new technology, aptly called Wave2O, harnesses wave energy to power a reverse osmosis desalination system. As complicated as it may sound, reverse osmosis desalination is simply a way of filtering water through a membrane that removes salt and other unwanted particles. Pushing seawater through the membrane requires a significant amount of energy – a potential problem in a country with limited power grid capacity – but Wave2O gets around this problem by converting energy from the sea.
Water moves with incredible force. He can destroy ships, wipe out entire villages, and even dig up land to form huge canyons. If you’ve ever been wiped out while surfing, you know how powerful the ocean waves can be. Wave2O takes advantage of this natural, renewable energy source through a multi-step process called wave energy conversion. First, ocean waves move shutters attached to the seabed. The movement of the flaps then feeds the hydraulic pumps, which send high pressure seawater through a reverse osmosis desalination system.
Besides being cheaper than diesel desalination, Wave2O is also much more durable. According to Olivier Ceberio, co-founder of Resolute Marine, replacing Cape Verde’s diesel desalination systems with Wave2O could reduce carbon emissions – a key driver of climate change – by more than 4,000 tonnes per year. Theoretically, Wave2O could even be used to generate electricity, thus providing developing countries and other communities in need with both fresh water and a sustainable source of energy.
Depending on the performance of Wave2O in Cape Verde, Resolute Marine’s technology could be used to desalinate seawater in coastal areas around the world, freeing up one of the most abundant resources on this aquatic planet. Thanks to scientific innovation, Tantalus may finally be able to quench its thirst.
Frisch, Lucy. “Fight against water scarcity with ocean waves.” Spring Nature, June 4, 2020.
Hurley, Bill. “Create the future: water desalination, powered by waves.” Tech Briefs, October 4, 2019.
Sengupta, Somini and Weiyi Cai. “A quarter of humanity faces looming water crises.” The New York Times, August 6, 2019.