Dutch Climate-KIC start-up ‘Elemental Water Makers’ turns seawater into fresh water on Virgin Islands
20 July 2015 – The Netherlands/ Virgin Islands – The Virgin Islands are the first to use a new renewable energy driven desalination solution that turns seawater into fresh water, developed by Dutch Climate-KIC start-up Elemental Water Makers. The solution provides 3300 gallons of fresh water from seawater on a daily basis since last week, while using only power from the sun. Elemental Water Makers therewith provides an alternative for a reliable supply of fresh water at lower costs, while simultaneously avoiding carbon dioxide emissions. Through a real-time monitoring portal, the water production and solar energy used on the Virgin Islands can be watched online from anywhere around the world.
Increasing fresh water scarcity and limited availability of fossil fuels demand new solutions using sustainable energy. “With unlimited availability of seawater and increasing renewable energy opportunities, desalination using renewable energy seems like the obvious solution”, says managing director Sid Vollebregt. “But there were barriers for implementation of these methods until now.”
“The commonly used and most energy efficient technology of reverse osmosis is designed for constant operation, while renewable energies such as the sun and wind fluctuate over time. As a result of the required use of batteries or operating discontinuously, existing alternatives are expensive. Elemental Water Makers solves this problem”, explains Vollebregt.
Renewable energy sources
Elemental Water Makers constantly converts seawater using only fluctuating renewable energy source(s). “A constant reverse osmosis process is enabled by using the power of gravity through a salt water buffer installed at a higher level of elevation”, says Vollebregt. “The pressurized seawater directly flows to the reverse osmosis membranes. The elevation level required is greatly reduced by re-using the excess pressure in the salt water flow, making use of a mechanical form of energy recovery.” The working principle is further explained on their website, www.elementalwatermakers.com.
“The pressurized seawater directly flows to the reverse osmosis membranes. The elevation level required is greatly reduced by re-using the excess pressure in the salt water flow, making use of a mechanical form of energy recovery.” The working principle is further explained on their website, www.elementalwatermakers.com.
Sustainable fresh water supply
Avoiding electricity consumption, batteries, energy conversion losses and frequent maintenance realizes significant costs savings. The solution is scalable from a few thousand gallons of water per day up to a scale of a million. Elemental Water Makers, founded by two engineers from the Technical University of Delft and part of incubator YES!Delft, participated in Climate-KIC Accelerator in the Netherlands. They expect many after-sales at resorts and private homeowners in the region and will be talking to governments to enable a sustainable fresh water supply of entire islands.
Climate-KIC supports start-ups like Elemental Water Makers to accelerate their climate innovative ideas into great businesses. Climate-KIC Accelerator is the only EU acceleration programme focused on climate impact by cleantech commercialization. Fast track entrepreneurship education, top-notch tools, techniques and intensive coaching are part of the rock-solid 18-month Accelerator programme. Interested to become part of Climate-KIC’s start-up network? Apply via our website.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Climate-KIC is the EU’s main climate innovation initiative. It is Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on mitigating and adapting to climate change. Climate-KIC consists of companies, academic institutions and the public sector.
The organisation has its headquarters in London, UK, and leverages national and regional centres across Europe to educate students and professionals, to support start-up companies and to bring together partners on innovation projects to bring about a connected, creative transformation of knowledge and ideas into products and services that help mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.
Elemental Water Makers
British Virgin Islands: +1284 341 0249
The Netherlands: +31 62929 4357
Harriet van der Weele
Communication Officer Entrepreneurship
+31 (0)6 2481 4221