Water | October 13, 2009 |
Wave Power to Drive Desalination Off Texas Coast
The Texas General Land Office has granted the first-ever state off-shore wave energy lease to Texas-based Renew Blue Inc. (RBI). The company will use ocean water and waves to produce desalinated water; the first 100% fossil-fuel-free bottled water, the company said.
RBI, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Independent Natural Resources Inc. (INRITM), is the first licensing entity of SEADOGÂ® Pump, a technology that harnesses the power of ocean waves to generate electricity. RBI will bottle and distribute the freshly desalinated water under the brand Renew Blue(TM).
The project is meant to demonstrate what the Seadog Pump technology can do in providing electricity and clean water to regions all over the world that lack fresh water and energy but have an abundance of ocean waves along their coastline.
RBI will place an off-shore modular platform about one mile off the coast of Freeport, Texas, in roughly 25 feet of water. The Seadog Pump has a simple design with relatively few moving parts and no electronics. RBI expects the platform to be installed in 4Q09 or the first quarter of 2010. The platform is currently being manufactured outside of Houston.
RBI will desalinate 3,000 gallons of water per day and will store up to 30,000 gallons in a sealed, stainless steel tank before being transported to the bottling plant. While traditional desalination typically requires significant amounts of electricity, the Seadog Pump platform system is powered solely by the wave energy it harnesses. Considering that 40% to 50% of operating costs in the desalination process is attributed to electric usage, the Seadog Pump system provides significant cost savings and minimal environmental impact compared to the large-scale use of power generated by fossil fuels.
"For the past seven years the Seadog has been fine-tuned to produce this major accomplishment as the first commercial wave power generation in the U.S.," said Mark A. Thomas, CEO, INRI. "We are thrilled to showcase the Seadog to the world as an innovative yet simple technology illustrating the ability to extract wave energy at low cost, with high levels of efficiency resulting in immeasurable benefit to humankind."
Renew Blue intends for the Seadog pump to be used in other applications apart from desalination. Inappropriate geographic locations, the pump can move large volumes of water to shore where it can be stored until needed for energy production. This ability to store energy removes the intermittency issues associated with other renewable energy technologies, the company said.
Preliminary estimates based on results from the sea trial suggest that a one-square-mile field of Seadog Pumps could generate anywhere from 30 megawatts to more than 1,500 megawatts of electricity on average. The amount of electricity generated is dependent on how small or large the waves are in any given area of the world.
Reprinted with permission from SustainableBusiness.com