The Offshore Wind Executive Summit is being held this week in Houston, and I got a chance to speak with Douglas Hines, President and CEO of Offshore Wind Power Systems of Texas. Douglas says that the entire world is facing a secret drinking water shortage: water tables everywhere are declining and an economically viable solution must be found to cutoff disaster. He suggests wind energy to drive the purification of sea water using reverse osmosis. Here is what he has to say.
“Water is the most essential element for life. In the United States and in Texas, many of the once most generous water reserves are receding.
Unfortunately for nearly every population center that borders on a sea, people are at risk of being displaced. The incalculable cost of coastal migration is straining every community’s ability to deal fully with inadequate clean water resources. Many communities are turning to ocean recovery, but the cost of building a single coastal water desalination plant at a meaningful scale is typically more than half a billion dollars. And once built, the energy required to continuously desalinate sea water presents a very high ongoing cost for sustaining water production.
What is needed is a lower-cost utility-scale method for converting sea water into clean water for coastal populations. A low-cost method must reduce both the cost of building a desalination plant as well as the ongoing operational cost for a continuous energy-intensive process. Furthermore, the needed solution must be scalable to meet the growing demand for clean water.
As many transformational technologies derive themselves from proven solutions, the Ocean Naiad is a truly progressive integration of three mature utility-scale technologies that include reverse osmosis seawater desalination powered by free, sustainable offshore wind and combined with a robust offshore floating-to-jack up substructure.”
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