While still in university, Chris and Justin were determined to find an alternative to existing desalination plants that devour energy and spit concentrated brine back into marine ecosystems, jeopardizing their health. In the Mechanical Engineering program, they set out to demonstrate it is possible to pressurize water and perform Reverse Osmosis (RO) using only wave energy - and they seem to have succeeded. Now they are crowdfunding to scale up their current proof of concept, in order to bring clean drinking water to coastal communities, remote islands and other places that lack resources for more energy-intensive technology.
“Typical desalination processes can be taxing on the environment, especially coastal communities,” the team wrote on their Indiegogo page. They add, “Unlike traditional methods that require a huge amount of power, typically generated by burning fuel oil, SAROS uses clean, renewable wave energy and produces zero emissions and minimal salt brine concentration.”
According to them, by eliminating the need to produce energy with their wave-powered device, they can offer clean drinking water at half the price of existing plants.
“We’re completely removing the dependency on electricity and fossil fuels, and creating one of the first environmentally conscious desalination systems that will allow us to bring affordable fresh water to coastal areas across the globe,” they said. It’s a noble idea with several other potential applications, including filtering plastic from oceans and seas.
If you’re interested to learn more, take a look at the long list of backers who have supported Chris and Justin in their three-year journey to perfect the original design. They’ve received multiple awards, including the coveted Thomas Edison Award in 2014, and recently opened a second branch in Wilmington, North Carolina to continue their research and development.