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

Plans to use marine power to desalinate water obtained an extra enhance this week, after a Norwegian agency introduced a system that shall be put by means of its paces in waters off Gran Canaria.

In an announcement Monday, Oslo-headquartered Ocean Oasis mentioned its wave-powered prototype gadget, which it described as being an "offshore floating desalination plant," was known as Gaia.

The plant — which has a top of 10 meters, a diameter of seven meters and weighs roughly 100 tons — was put collectively in Las Palmas and can bear testing at the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands.

Ocean Oasis mentioned its expertise would allow "the production of fresh water from ocean waters by harnessing the energy of the waves to carry out a desalination process and pump potable water to coastal users."

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The firm mentioned the improvement of its prototype had obtained monetary backing from a spread of organizations together with Innovation Norway and the Gran Canaria Economic Promotion Society.

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


The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. According to the Canary Islands Institute of Technology, the islands have been "a pioneer in the production of desalinated water at affordable cost."

A presentation from the ITC highlights a few of the explanation why. Describing the Canary Islands' "water singularities," it refers to a "structural water deficit due to low rainfall, high soil permeability and aquifer overexploitation."

While desalination — which multinational power agency Iberdrola describes as "the process by which the dissolved mineral salts in water are removed" — is seen as a useful gizmo when it comes to offering drinking water to international locations the place provide is a matter, the U.N. has famous there are important environmental challenges linked to it.

It says that "the fossil fuels normally used in the energy-intensive desalination process contribute to global warming, and the toxic brine it produces pollutes coastal ecosystems."

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With the above in thoughts, tasks wanting to desalinate water in a extra sustainable manner will develop into more and more vital in the years forward.

The thought of utilizing waves to energy desalination just isn’t distinctive to the challenge being undertaken in the Canaries. In April, for instance, the U.S. Department of Energy revealed the winners of the final stage of a contest targeted on wave-powered desalination.

Back on the Canary Islands, Ocean Oasis mentioned it could be wanting to assemble a second set up after testing at the PLOCAN facility had taken place. "In this phase, the prototype will be scaled with the capacity to produce water for consumption," the firm mentioned.

While there may be pleasure about the potential of marine power, the footprint of wave and tidal stream tasks stays very small in contrast to different renewables.

In knowledge launched in March 2022, Ocean Energy Europe mentioned 2.2 megawatts of tidal stream capability was put in in Europe final 12 months, in contrast to simply 260 kilowatts in 2020.

For wave power, 681 kW was put in, which OEE mentioned was a threefold enhance. Globally, 1.38 MW of wave power got here on-line in 2021, whereas 3.12 MW of tidal stream capability was put in.

By manner of comparability, Europe put in 17.4 gigawatts of wind energy capability in 2021, in accordance to figures from business physique WindEurope.

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