Can we drink sea water? Students say yes!

Twelve students help solve the global water crisis. They have during the DNV GL Summer Project conceived a concept which makes a case for wave-powered desalination to help address global water scarcity challenges.

Ensuring access to safe water is one of the major challenges we face this century. Enormous investments in desalination of sea water technology and systems are expected in the years ahead as current desalination techniques are very energy demanding leading to significant CO2 emissions. Earlier this year, both the World Economic Forum and the Global Opportunity Network have pointed to this challenge as respectively the biggest risk and opportunity that we face. Read more about the risk and opportunities related to the lack of fresh water here.

Over a period of two months, DNV GL arranged the DNV GL Summer Project, where twelve selected students across different disciplines were given the task of developing a robust and commercially viable wave power-driven desalination system in order to address the risk of a lack of fresh water. The outcome of this is an environmentally friendly off-grid system dubbed Ocean Oasis. It comprises of a wave-energy converter and desalination plant floating of the coasts, delivering clean water to the mainland. It represents a more sustainable approach to producing clean, portable water.

“Every summer DNV GL brings together a group of selected students with a wide variety of academic backgrounds to find innovative solutions to important real world challenges,” explains project manager at DNV GL Kristina Dahlberg. ”This year, the DNV GL Summer Project has taken a closer look at how wave power and desalination technology can contribute to the effort of supplying clean and sustainable water to the world’s growing population. This is an enormous challenge, and we want to bring more knowledge and robust solutions to help address this challenge.”

The selected students, who were chosen from 260 applicants, have presented the concept to DNV GL management, employees and industry representatives. “The objective of this project was to develop a concept that would contribute to solving challenges connected to water scarcity. We wanted our solution to be at the intersection of innovation and realism, which has been a difficult feat, but has also increased the quality and credibility of the end product,” says student project manager Mats Mathisen Aarlott.

He added, “As part of our work, we solved several complicated tasks linked to the wave power systems and conducted a financial feasibility study. We have reason to believe that the Ocean Oasis concept is feasible. Also, we looked into which countries were best suited for developing the technology. We have targeted South Africa based on factors such as wave resources, market conditions and the political situation. When the technology is proven and matured it can be further developed and could contribute to solving future global water scarcity issues.”

You can read more about the Ocean Oasis concept and functionality here.

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