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Offshore floating desalination plant aims to produce drinking water from the ocean

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Ocean Oasis’ Gaia system is designed to desalinate water using wave power.

Ocean Oasis

Plans to use ocean energy to desalinate water got a further boost this week after a Norwegian company unveiled a system that will be trialed in the waters off Gran Canaria.

In a statement on Monday, Oslo-based Ocean Oasis said the wave-powered prototype device it described as an “offshore floating desalination plant” will be called Gaia.

The plant, 10 meters high, 7 meters in diameter and weighing about 100 tons, will be assembled in Las Palmas and tested on an offshore platform in the Canary Islands.

Ocean Oasis says its technology will allow it to “produce freshwater from seawater by harnessing the energy of waves to run a desalination process that delivers drinking water to coastal users.”

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According to the company, the development of the prototype has received financial support from various organizations such as Innovation Norway and the Gran Canaria Economic Promotion Society.

The principal investor in Ocean Oasis is Grieg Maritime Group, headquartered in Bergen, Norway.

desalination

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. According to the Canary Islands Institute of Technology, the islands were “pioneers in producing affordable demineralized water.”

Presentation from ITC I’ll highlight some of the reasons why. When describing the Canary Islands’ “water singularity”, it refers to “structural water scarcity due to low rainfall, high soil permeability, and overexploitation of aquifers.”

Desalinating — Multinational Energy Company Iberdrola Described as “the process by which dissolved mineral salts in water are removed” – seen as a useful tool when it comes to providing drinking water to countries where supply is an issue. The United Nations points out that there are serious environmental problems associated with it. .

“Fossil fuels typically used in energy-intensive desalination processes contribute to global warming, and the toxic brine they produce pollutes coastal ecosystems,” it said.

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With the above in mind, projects that seek to desalinate water in a more sustainable way will become increasingly important in the future.

The idea of ​​using waves to power seawater desalination is not unique to the projects taking place in the Canary Islands.For example, the U.S. Department of Energy stated in his April revealed the winner of the final stage of the competition focused on wave power desalination.

Back in the Canary Islands, Ocean Oasis said it was considering building a second facility after testing at the PLOCAN facility. “At this stage, the prototype will be scaled up for its ability to produce water for consumption,” the company said.

Despite the promise of ocean energy, the footprint of wave and current projects remains very small compared to other renewables.

According to data released in March 2022, Ocean Energy Europe said 2.2 megawatts of tidal current capacity was installed in Europe last year, compared to just 260 kilowatts in 2020.

For wave energy, 681 kW was installed, a three-fold increase according to OEE. Globally, 1.38 MW of wave energy will come online in 2021 and 3.12 MW of tidal current capacity will be installed.

By way of comparison, Europe has installed 17.4 gigawatts of wind capacity in 2021, according to figures from industry group WindEurope.

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