Freshwater production from the motion of ocean waves – A review

The article 'Freshwater production from the motion of ocean waves – A review' has been published in Elsevier journal Desalination.


Freshwater scarcity and insufficient sanitation are global urgent problems, affecting billions of people. In this review paper, the process of desalination powered by wave power has been investigated as a potential sustainable solution to water shortage. The different desalination techniques suitable for this type of combined system, i.e. reverse osmosis, electrodialysis and mechanical vapor compression, have been outlined, as well as the different wave energy converters possible to power the desalination process, i.e. oscillating water columns, oscillating bodies (wave activated bodies) and overtopping systems. Some necessary considerations for this type of project are identified. The different wave power/desalination projects and how they have proceeded are presented.

The most common design of a wave energy and desalination system includes a wave activated body to pressurize seawater; the seawater flows through a reverse osmosis membrane, resulting in freshwater. Some successful (freshwater producing) wave energy/desalination projects were identified: Delbuoy, the oscillating water column in Vizhinjam, CETO Freshwater, SAROS and Odyssée. It is concluded that wave power and desalination can be combined in a sustainable and autonomous system, generating freshwater from the ocean waves. However, questions regarding cost of produced water, variations in power production due to intermittency and environmental effects still remain.

Read the full text on ScienceDirect.