Photo: Unveiling of Ocean Oasis’ Gaia prototype in the presence of investors and government officials (Courtesy of Ocean Oasis)

Ocean Oasis unveils wave energy-driven desalination prototype

Norwegian company Ocean Oasis has presented the prototype device, named Gaia, for wave energy desalination that will be tested at the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN).

Unveiling of Ocean Oasis’ Gaia prototype in the presence of investors and government officials (Courtesy of Ocean Oasis)
Unveiling of Ocean Oasis’ Gaia prototype in the presence of investors and government officials (Courtesy of Ocean Oasis)

Ocean Oasis’ offshore floating desalination plant, unveiled at Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, will enable the production of fresh water from ocean waters by harnessing the energy of the waves to carry out a desalination process and pump potable water to coastal users.

The prototype, assembled in the Port of Las Palmas, is 7 meters in diameter and 10 meters high and weighs about 100 tons.

The device extracts the energy of the waves through the relative movement of two bodies, taking advantage of this energy directly to carry out a desalination process by reverse osmosis without the need to produce electrical energy, thus increasing the efficiency of the process, Ocean Oasis said.

Gaia will be anchored in the southern area of the PLOCAN test site at Punta de la Mareta, according to Ocean Osmosis, which also unveiled plans for the second installation after the conclusion of the trials on Gaia prototype.

In the second phase of Ocean Oasis’ technology development, supported by the EU EIC Accelerator, the prototype will be scaled with the capacity to produce water for consumption, and will be connected to the water distribution system to help tackle water stress in a sustainable way.

Sebastián Feimblatt, Ocean Oasis’ COO, said: “The Canary Islands provide us with the ideal environment to test our technology both due to PLOCAN’s infrastructure, experience and location, as well as the possibility of developing its solution in a market as relevant as the of the Canary Islands in matters of desalination and offshore activities.”

Antonio Morales, president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, added: “Gran Canaria depends on desalinated water for its survival, and it is more important every day because of the drought. But desalination is a process that consumes a lot of energy. If we consider all the processes necessary to obtain water, this represents between 15 and 20% of the total energy consumption of our territory.

“In 2016, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria launched the ‘Renovagua’ plan with the aim of reducing the use of conventional energy in the production and distribution of water by 40%. Therefore, we receive these types of innovative initiatives with great interest since they can be a very relevant contribution to guarantee the supply of water and accelerate the energy transition.”

Desalination growth and offshore potential

Currently, more than 300 million people depend on desalination for their water supply, accounting for about 1% of the total freshwater supply. Climate change and the depletion of traditional resources are increasing the need for desalination, and it is estimated that this will have to double by 2030 to meet the needs of the population.

However, traditional desalination requires large amounts of energy, leading to a large carbon footprint and high cost. From this premise, Ocean Oasis points out that desalination that uses wave energy brings a new dimension and additional opportunities to supply desalinated water without emissions, at a competitive cost, and without the use of valuable land.

The use of offshore wave energy in deep waters also allows a clean capture of water and the discharge of brine in a sustainable way, minimizing the environmental impact, according to Ocean Oasis.

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