A two megawatt installation off the coast of Australia aims to power a large-scale desalination process with advanced wave energy technology.
Reverse osmosis desalination has been in use for several decades, and works simply enough: high pressure is used to force saltwater through a membrane, producing drinkable freshwater on the other end. Traditionally the pressure is provided with electric pumps powered by fossil fuels, resulting in both carbon dioxide emissions and lots of points for energy loss.
But instead of relying on those electric pumps, Carnegie is using the latest iteration of its CETO technology — CETO 5 — to supply that pressure with wave energy instead. Underwater buoys eleven meters in diameter are installed offshore, and as ocean waves catch them, the movement supplies hydraulic power to pump seawater up underground pipes to shore. At that point, the water runs into the desalination plant, where it directly supplies the pressure for the reverse osmosis. Some of that hydraulic energy is also converted into electric power as needed.
The resulting system not only cuts out all carbon dioxide emissions, it also greatly reduces the points where energy can be lost, making the process much more energy efficient and cost-effective.