Clean Energy from Subsurface Waves

This technology utilizes the constant wave and tidal actions in the ocean to power large hydraulic pumps that drive seawater through pipes to an onshore power-generation facility, where hydroelectric turbines generate renewable electricity for the grid. The hydraulic pumps are integrated into buoys that are fully submerged below the sea surface, leaving no visual impact and shielding the units from pounding surface waves.

The hydraulic pumps can also deliver high-pressure seawater to a reverse osmosis desalination plant, where it passes through membranes that purify and desalinate the water. The technology is particularly well-suited for small islands that depend on imported and expensive diesel to generate power and freshwater. A project has been commissioned in Australia, with projects in development in Mauritius and the UK.

Why you should care

There is an immense amount of renewable energy available in the oceans, but capturing this energy via feasible and reliable technologies has proven to be challenging. Carnegie’s CETO technology is a promising solution, offering zero-emission electricity and directly desalinated freshwater, which reduces the need for fossil fuel-fired power stations and energy-intensive desalination plants. In particular, this solution is attractive for islands that are heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels to generate fresh water and power.

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