Texas site to harness ocean for power, water

An off-shore facility where wave power will be harnessed for desalination could demonstrate a viable option for producing electricity and drinking water in coastal regions.

Renew Blue's Seadog pump, which uses wave and tidal power to produce electricity and can be harnessed for desalination, is about to be put to the commercial test off the coast of Texas.

Earlier this month, Renew Blue, a subsidiary of the Minneapolis-based Independent Natural Resources, was granted the first-ever state off-shore wave energy lease from the Texas General Land Office . On Thursday, Renew Blue announced that it has licensed its technology to Texas Natural Resources and that they will partner to develop an off-shore facility for 18 Seadog pumps that will both produce power and desalinate seawater for drinking.

A Renew Blue sketch demonstrating how an 18-pump Seadog plant could work. Independent Natural Resources

Texas Natural Resources plans to build the facility one mile off the coast of Freeport, Texas.

Water produced from the off-shore plant will initially be bottled in compostable plastic bottles produced from corn byproducts. It will be sold under the brand Renew Blue and marketed as "environmentally friendly bottled water."

"However, the greater goal of the Seadog pump field is to demonstrate what the technology can do in providing electricity and clean water at a municipal level to regions all over the world that lack fresh water and energy but have an abundance of ocean waves along their coastline," the companies said.

The project will be a test to see how scalable the technology is for widespread use.

In addition to providing electricity, the plant will initially desalinate 3,000 gallons of water per day and hold 30,000 gallons of fresh water at a time to be transported for bottling. But the plant could be designed to eventually desalinate millions of gallons per day for municipal use, according to statistics provided by both companies.

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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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