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OWOE - Cool Tech - Using ocean waves to make clean drinking water
  Figure 1 - SAROS process to create clean drinking water (SAROS)
Figure 1 - SAROS process to create clean drinking water (SAROS)
Video 1 - An Introduction to SAROS
Using ocean waves to make clean drinking water
Topic updated: 2015-11-10

Originally a Senior Design Project at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and now in prototype testing, a new device called the Swell Actuated Reverse Osmosis System (SAROS) removes the salt from saltwater using high-pressure pumps that harness energy drawn from the vertical motion of waves. The result is clean, drinkable water.

SAROS is a floating buoy that is anchored offshore, just outside the breaking wave zone. The motion of the system as it bobs in the waves creates mechanical energy which pulls in sea water and pumps it at high pressure through a reverse-osmosis membrane. The resulting clean, drinkable water is then stored in a tank and ultimately pumped to shore through a flexible hose. Figure 1 illustrates the process.

The current SAROS design targets areas in need of sustainable, small-scale desalination. The system can produce 2,000 gallons of water a day over its 10 year lifespan and costs $23,000. At this point it's not clear whether the system is scalable to provide quantities of water to compete with a full sized desalination plant, which can produce 50 million gallons a day. But it's definitely a cool idea that addresses two worldwide problems, alternative energy and lack of clean water, simultaneously.

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