Atmocean: Fresh Drinking Water from the Sea - Bold Business

Serial entrepreneur, Phil Kithil, is very close to completing his bold invention: a system that creates fresh drinking water by harnessing wave power.

Each array of pumps creates a defacto marine protected area with artificial structures that see marine growth.

Kithil’s company, Atmocean, Inc. has partnered with Reytek Corp. to create a system where seawater is forced by the pressure of waves onto the shore and desalinated without the use of any external energy source. There have been various methods for desalinating seawater, but this is the first time that the process involves the use of nearshore wave energy reverse osmosis for the water purification process.

The Atmocean system uses an array of pumps, with each pump as a buoy acting on a piston. The wave forces water into the buoy and when the wave recedes, it pumps the water back to shore through the zero-electricity desalination process.

The desalination process uses power from seawater as it is forced through energy recovery devices. These, in turn, boost the water from what is normally 180 psi at the shore, to 900 psi, which is sufficient to create a reverse osmosis effect. The system runs continuously as it relies completely on wave action.

Pure Water for Drinking, Fresh Water for Free

A graphic which illustrates how fresh water is extracted from the oceans.

In a country like Peru, where the South Pacific forces 50 million cubic feet of pressurized water towards the shore, up to 5 million cubic feet of fresh water per year can be recovered and used for agriculture or human consumption.

Kithil said his near shore energy system’s design is simple and can be set up quickly and inexpensively in areas that need it most. Desalinated water can be used for farming in coastal cities and for drinking and other day-to-day needs in rural areas.

Atmocean is currently perfecting the computational modeling of the wave energy system. Later this year, it will be set up off the coast of Newfoundland for another round of testing. This time, the prototype is being tested in an actual, operational environment.

Kithil’s team was also quick to allay fears that their technology would harm the ocean’s ecosystem. On the contrary, “each array of pumps creates a de facto marine protected area with artificial structures that see marine growth,” a Phys Org article quoted Kithil as saying.

The program also creates consistent work for local fishermen who man the small boats used in the process.

After concluding the testing phase, Atmocean will be looking for a commercial partner to market this bold technology. On the other hand, companies like Deep Green are looking at creating energy from tidal currents, another bold idea that harnesses natural processes for green technology.

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