How It Works
As the SAROS buoy rises and falls with passing swells, it works against its mooring tether to drive the pumps underneath the hood of the buoy. These pumps intake seawater and pump it back to shore under pressure. Before entering the desalination system, a device called the WaveBank transforms the surges of incoming water from the buoy into a smooth, steady stream of water into the reverse osmosis system. SAROS uses tried and true, off-the-shelf reverse osmosis systems which are among the most efficient systems in the world. These systems feature an energy recovery device that acts like a turbocharger for the incoming seawater, boosting the incoming pressure as well as providing massive energy savings. The water that comes out is fresh, clean, and ready to drink. No chemicals or pollutants are added at any point, and the reverse osmosis process removes salt, bacteria, and any other harmful contents from the seawater. All this powered only by the motion of the ocean.
SAROS is Wave Energy Made Easy
Today’s typical wave energy systems are large, complex and expensive, requiring the use of big, specialized vessels for installation, rigorous site evaluations and extensive permitting processes. SAROS systems are designed from the seafloor to the surface to be just the opposite. Our compact, modular units are easy to transport and can be towed out to the installation site by almost any small boat . Our modular, gravity base mooring system keeps things simple and makes installation possible using the resources available in even small remote communities. SAROS’ turnkey systems arrive on location ready for installation. These plug and play systems can even be containerized. In this configuration, the same standard shipping container that entire system arrives in can also provide a safe home for the land based reverse osmosis equipment to be operated from onshore.
While designing for optimal performance, SAROS engineers focus on maintaining the simplicity of the technology by using common components and keeping them above water to avoid complicated installation and maintenance. By concentrating only on water production and not producing electricity, SAROS has much higher efficiency. Part of the SAROS solution is going beyond the technology to allow end-users and communities to maintain their water management system. Eliminating energy-related emissions, SAROS’ design and adaptability provide a unique opportunity to supply clean water, expand the water supply, preserve ecological and environmental needs of communities and address economic issues of energy and water pricing.
There is nothing more constant than change. SAROS recognizes that wave conditions can be variable. Whether it is a relatively calm day, or a tropical storm, SAROS is designed to put waves of all shapes and sizes to work. We have put a lot of effort into designing a high resolution power take-off that is sensitive enough to begin making water in waves as small as 8 inches, but robust enough to reliably capture energy from very large swell. This extremely broad operating range is critical when it comes to providing a dependable supply of water. Our unique power take-off has also been tested with an array of pump designs, allowing the system to be specially configured for applications even outside of desalination.
With results from our initial SAROS prototype, we are aiming for our SAROSv2 prototype to produce an average of 3500 gallons per day at full scale. SAROS’ ability for machine grouping enables communities to expand the outreach of the unit, enhancing the effectiveness of SAROS.
Idea for Saros
SAROS’ first oceanic test
Awarded Thomas Edison Award for dedication to sustainability
Invited to join CLT Joules (Energy Accelerator Program)
Awarded Top Charlotte Startup Hauser Award
Finalist in Hello Tomorrow Conference and Competition, Paris, France
Designs for 2nd Prototype began
SAROSv2 is deployed
Awarded Best Technical Paper and Presentation at Caribbean Desalination Association Biennial Conference
Pilot study site visit-Caja de Muertos, Puerto Rico
Wilmington office and test site is opened for 24/7 oceanic testing
Graco and Spectra Watermakers provide equipment for SAROSv2.5 as upgrades Begin
Clean drinking water is made with newest prototype (including Graco pump and Spectra Watermakers)
A significant supply of energy exists in our oceans, yet harnessing this energy in a useful and efficient manner has been a challenge. With focus placed on using the most powerful waves to produce the electricity, other options have been overlooked.
SAROS began as a Senior Design Project at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, with a goal to prove it was possible to pressurize water sufficiently to perform Reverse Osmosis (RO) using only wave energy.
To capture this wave type, we developed the concept of the floating pendulum. Our next step was to conduct simulated tests of pendulum action and its responses to ocean swells. We then began developing a complete design and working prototype capable of producing fresh water from the ocean.