Illustration/Oneka Technologies' wave energy-drive desalination platform (Courtesy of Oneka Technologies)

Oneka partners up with Californian city for wave-powered desalination demo

Canadian company Oneka Technologies has teamed up with the City of Fort Bragg to deploy the first wave-powered desalination project in California.

Illustration/Oneka Technologies' wave energy-drive desalination platform (Courtesy of Oneka Technologies)

Oneka’s wave-powered desalination buoys turn seawater into freshwater without emitting greenhouse gas emissions, exclusively relying on the power of ocean waves.

For the pilot project, an Iceberg-class unit, the 9th generation of this technology which has been refined over seven years in the ocean environment, will be deployed along the Fort Bragg coast.

During the pilot project, one Iceberg-class unit is expected to produce up to 13,200 GPD (50 m3/day) over a 12-month period while emitting zero greenhouse gases and saving 1 ton of CO2e per year for each m3 of fresh water produced daily, compared to diesel-powered desalination plants.

This means that in the pilot project 50 tons of CO2e would be saved, according to Oneka.

Also, the pilot will generate low-impact brine (30% increase in salinity compared to seawater) that is quickly dispersed through wave action so there is no salinity difference detected 1.8 meters from the buoys (conventional desalination results in brine that is 100-150% higher in salt concentration).

The pilot project’s entire reverse osmosis process will be taking place offshore, which preserves terrestrial ecosystems.

The goal of this demonstration project is to display the benefits of Oneka’s desalination technology, on all facets of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental, representing a first stepping stone to address challenges of water security for Fort Bragg, as well as other coastal communities.

The State of California invested $1.5 million in grant funds to support the City of Fort Bragg and Oneka’s pilot project.

The project is in its early stages of permitting – local, state and federal agencies as well as a very experienced California environmental firm are working together closely to ensure compliance with the many laws and regulations in place to protect the environment.

In addition, two small spotter buoys about the size of a basketball will be deployed in the summer of 2023 to study wave patterns just off the coast for three to four months.

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