Clean water from ocean waves
Over two billion people suffer from the effects of water scarcity and the vast majority of those affected live in coastal areas in developing countries and remote communities. Seawater desalination is an excellent potential solution, but desalination systems require a connection to a strong and reliable electrical grid for their power supply.
Because our target customers typically lack sufficient grid capacity and cannot afford the capital or time required to build and deploy grid-connected systems, Resolute Marine has devised a unique solution to this problem - the world’s first wave-driven desalination system (Wave2O™) that can be deployed quickly, operate completely “off-grid” and supply large quantities of clean fresh water at competitive cost.
Wave2O™ harnesses the abundant and consistent energy of ocean waves to directly drive the desalination process. The key technologies that enable Wave2O™ have been validated in a series of tests which have proven that Wave2O™ can be a reliable and cost-effective water production system with utility in multiple places and in multiple uses around the world. While Wave2O™ has been designed with simple operation and maintenance in mind, it incorporates several innovative technologies invented by RME.
Our solution targets “off-grid” coastal communities in developing nations where Wave2OTMhas the unique advantage of filling a large gap in the market between utility-scale and micro-scale fresh water production systems.
At macro/utility scale, “on-grid” solutions (dams, pipelines, power plants) require large capital investment, take many years to build and, in general, are only available to wealthy nations. At micro/household scale, solutions focus on increasing the utility of water that is polluted or inaccessible and provide relief for relatively few people.
At “middle scale”, there is only one incumbent technology, diesel-powered desalination systems, which can be partially or wholly displaced by Wave2OTMin off-grid communities with access to an energetic wave resource.
We believe Cape Verde represents the shortest path to commercialization because it suffers from severe water scarcity and is dependent upon diesel-electric desalination systems for 85% of its water supply and because we have secured a commitment from the local power and water utility, Electra, to purchase a full-scale 4,000 m3/day Wave2O™ plant after trials of a demonstration plant have been successfully completed. This effort is already financed in part by the African Development Bank.
Such a plant would produce water at a third of the average cost of water and will fulfill the needs of approximately 40,000 people. It would furthermore displace an equivalent of 5,840,000 kWh/year of energy that have would otherwise been produced by fossil-fueled means, e.g. diesel-electric generators. This would represent a reduction in CO2emissions of 4,346 tons/plant, the equivalent of taking 936 cars off the road, or of the carbon sequestered by 4,000 acres of forest.
Once successful in Cape Verde, we will quickly expand globallyand, for that, we have already been actively promoting Wave2O™ in several countries and have obtained preliminary commitments to deploy Wave2O™ plants in South Africa and Mauritius.
Watch our elevator pitch:
The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Boston, MA, USA
What makes our solution innovative:
Wave2O™ is unique because it harnesses the abundant and consistent energy of ocean waves to directly drive the desalination process (i.e. without an intermediary stage of producing electricity to drive the desalination process). The key technologies that enable Wave2O™ have been validated in a series of tests which have proven that Wave2O™ can be a reliable and cost-effective water production system with utility in multiple places and in multiple uses around the world. While Wave2O™ has been designed with simple operation and maintenance in mind, it incorporates several innovative technologies invented by RME.
How technology is integral to our solution:
Wave2OTM consists of several WECs deployed at the perimeter of the surf zone (i.e. close to shore) that pressurize seawater which is piped ashore to drive a seawater reverse-osmosis (“SWRO”) desalination system. An important advantage of Wave2OTMis that the brine (saline byproduct of the RO process) is fully diluted before it is returned to sea and thus does not harm the environment. Wave2OTM fits in standard marine containers, installs in a matter of days, does not require any connection to an electrical grid and complies with U.N. Sustainable Development Goals for sustainability.
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:
Wave2OTM has been under development for over 8 years and its wave energy converter (WEC) subsystem has undergone successful ½ scale sea trials. We are currently developing and/or adapting several other key components and processes and will test Wave2O™ in laboratory conditions in 2019. Wave2O™ will then be tested in ocean conditions during a “technical pilot” at PLOCAN in Las Palmas, Spain. The successful completion of the technical pilot in 2020 will trigger the launch of our commercialization activities, starting in Cape Verde.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:
We have linked with key government and commercial stakeholders from which we are seeking a formal commitment for several commercial-scale projects. We are working with the Cape Verde Ministry of Finance to obtain support for the installation of five 4,000 m3/day Wave2O™ plants before 5 years at a total cost of about $125 million which would attract project funding from infrastructure finance providers.
Once successful in Cape Verde, we will quickly expand globallyand, for that, we have already been actively promoting Wave2O™ in several countries in Africa, South East Asia and South America.
Our promotional video:
The key characteristics of the populations who will benefit from our solution in the next 12 months:
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
Where we plan to expand in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:
Our business model is to manufacture, sell, install and maintain Wave2OTMsystems for independent project developers around the world. In our markets, dedicated Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) will established to operate and maintain Wave2O™ plants and manage water sales to customers. In anticipation of the launch of our first projects, we have established SPVs in Cape Verde and South Africa.
The SPVs will be financed separately, in part by RME and in part by RME’s equity and debt partners, using the well-established Build, Own and Operate (BOO) project development model
How many people we are currently serving with our solution:
In Cape Verde, we have assembled a consortium of partners led by Electra, the local utility to support the demonstration of our pilot-scale Wave2O™ system on the island of Sao Vicente. The project received the support from the African Development Bank through grant covering various site analyses and permitting.
A 4,000 m3/day Wave2O™ plant would deliver a LCOW of $1.25 per cubic meter before profit and cost of financing i.e. at more than 3.5x less cost and leaving more than $3/m3 to be shared among RME’s partners, the financing partners and Electra.
How many people we will be serving with our solution in the 12 months and the next 3 years:
We expect our first commercial scale plant to be deployed in 3 years. Such a plant would cover the needs of approximately 40,000 people by producing 1.46 million m3of fresh water per year. Assuming the 4 kWh/m3 would be needed otherwise, it would furthermore displace an equivalent of 5,840,000 kWh/year of energy that have would otherwise been produced by fossil-fueled. Assuming an emission factor of 7.44 × 10-4 metric tons CO2/kWh (Source EPA 2017), this would represent a reduction in CO2emissions of 4,346 tons/year.
How our solution team is organized:For-Profit
How many people work on our solution team:6
How many years we have been working on our solution:5-10 years
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:
We have assembled a team of experienced business and technical professionals with the core competencies necessary for success. Our core expertise is in entrepreneurship, general management and technology product development. We have accumulated over 20 years of professional experience and we have lived, worked and shared our lives with people in more than 8 different developing countries. In addition, our CEO is the Chair of the U.S. delegation to the IEC TC-114 technical standards committee about marine energy in Geneva.
Our revenue model:
Our business model will generate three revenue streams:
- A non-recurring stream related to equipment sales and installation during the construction phase;
- A recurring revenue stream related to long-term maintenance contracts;
- A recurring revenue stream related to profits on water sales.
Our business targets the very big niche of “off-grid” coastal communities in developing nations where water is very expensive commodity. For example, the average cost of water in Cape Verde is $4.42/m3- the highest in Africa and among the highest in the world – and our preliminary studies indicate that a 4,000 m3/day plant can achieve a $1.25/m3 cost.
Why we are applying to Solve:
Resolute Marine has earned a reputation as a global leader in the design, fabrication and deployment of WEC systems that generate clean energy from ocean waves. In recognition of our work in this field, we have won numerous prizes in the past. In an environment of scarce funding, participating in these competitions has been incredibly useful in: helping us raise awareness of our Wave2O™ solution; building our reputation; and mobilizing partners to help us accelerate development. SOLVE could play a critical role in helping us achieve our “last-mile” development objectives.
The key barriers for our solution:
An endorsement from SOLVE will give us credibility to address the following barriers:
Access to project financing: Project financing partners may stipulate conditions that hinder some of our expected social impacts (e.g. local content and job creation). However, we believe we will have access to financing instruments from multi-laterals that shares our vision.
Adoption Risk: Our initial market is concentrated mostly in Africa adding complexity to our projects in terms of logistics, operations, financing, and regulation. However, there is also great demand for medium-scale, distributed water production systems that are less capital intensive and that can be deployed relatively quickly.
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers:
- Olivier Ceberio COO, Resolute Marine