Oneka sets foot in Chile with wave-powered desalination technology

Canadian company Oneka Technologies has announced the opening of its subsidiary in Chile, following the successful demonstration of its wave energy-powered desalination technology in the country.

Illustration/Oneka's wave-powered desalination buoy (Courtesy of Oneka Technologies)
Illustration/Oneka's wave-powered desalination buoy (Courtesy of Oneka Technologies)
Illustration/Oneka’s wave-powered desalination buoy (Courtesy of Oneka Technologies)

Oneka installed and successfully tested its demonstrator project for desalinating water using wave energy on the coast of Algarrobo, a seaside town in the central coast of Chile, some 80 kilometers from Chile’s capital, Santiago.

The initiative is aligned with the agreement between Canada and Chile on environmental cooperation, and in an event held last week, attended by governmental authorities of both nations, Oneka announced the opening of its subsidiary in Chile.

During the past six months, Oneka’s modular and scalable system, deployed at the local marina of Cofradía Náutica del Pacífico, showed the potential it has to provide fresh water to coastal communities by bringing water to the coastline that was produced solely using the power of the waves.

It was also able to demonstrate its capacity to survive harsh storms that can occur in Chile, Oneka noted.

Furthermore, the Canadian government announced an investment of Ca$4.9 million ($3.7 million) into Oneka’s Glacier – a utility-scale wave powered desalination project via Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), the Canada’s cleantech investment program.

The funding comes in addition to the investment from Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, which committed to provide Ca$6.7 million ($4.9 million) for the Ca$14.1 million ($10.3 million) scheme, with the balance coming from project partners.

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The Glacier utility scale project will be deployed in Chile with a consortium of industry partners from the environmental research, mining and water sectors and will pave the way for Chile to take advantage of the huge wave energy potential, according to Oneka.

Mary Ng, the minister for International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development of Canada, said: “I can’t stress enough how important it is to work with likeminded partners like Chile. In particular, I’m glad to see how this Canadian technology from Quebec is providing a solution to water scarcity in Chile caused by climate change. To me, that’s the whole point of developing and strengthening free-trade agreements.”

Dragan Tutic, CEO and founder of Oneka, added: “By embracing the ocean’s full potential with its resource, seawater and its energy in the form of waves, we are showing that freshwater can be produced from the ocean while preserving the environment. Oneka’s technology desalinates the seawater using no land and emitting no emissions. The systems produce only freshwater that is sent to the coast and low-concentration brine that is released offshore and well mixed with the ocean waves.

“The multiple-outfall approach makes the brine release responsible with a negligible effect on sea life. It is also a great opportunity to have such a demonstration project so we can monitor in the real environment those elements.

“And finally, with its simplicity and the fact that it doesn’t have any energy cost, it represents a new water source that can be affordable for coastal communities and industries in Chile.”

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