Resolute Marine is developing and commercializing a wave-driven seawater desalination system (Wave2OTM) that operates completely “off-grid” and fills a huge gap in the market for seawater desalination systems i.e. between “on-grid,” mega-scale desalination plants and micro-scale, “household” water purification systems that are effective but have minimal impact on the overall global water crisis. While our primary focus is on “renewable water,” we also generate electricity in response to customer needs, e.g. to deliver water from our water storage tanks to customers and users. Our strategy has always been to target commercial activities that would be enabled or greatly improved by the availability of an on-site renewable energy supply; identify specific industry leaders, customers or partners for joint research/pilot projects; and use industry leaders, customers or partners to sell jointly-developed products into targeted markets.
Resolute Marine has developed a unique technology that harnesses ocean wave energy to produce fresh water in areas where large-scale seawater desalination plants are too expensive and take too long to build and where diesel-electric systems deliver limited quantities of high-cost water and add significant costs and environmental risks. Our mission is to significantly improve access to water for coastal populations and industrial/agricultural operations in developing countries and small island developing states (SIDS) and to displace the diesel-electric desalination system that are currently in wide use worldwide. Our Wave2OTM technology is a cost effective, highly scalable “renewable water” solution that enables water resource managers to align supply and demand in water-stressed areas that would otherwise be overlooked and where Wave2OTM has compelling economic advantages over both large-scale, centralized desalination plants and smaller-scale diesel-driven desalination systems.
The ocean is a vast and largely untapped renewable energy resource that can be harnessed to support sustainable development while, at the same time, significantly reducing the carbon emissions that contribute to ocean acidification, temperature rise and other threats to ocean health. Ocean waves are ideally suited to power desalination plants because of their superior energy density, consistency and predictability compared to other renewable energy resources like wind and solar.
While building its execution capabilities and achieving its business objectives, Resolute is firmly committed to upholding the highest standards of ocean stewardship while delivering exceptional triple-bottom-line returns to stakeholders in terms of financial, social and environmental benefits.
Since its founding in 2007, Resolute has received generous research and development grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Oregon Wave Energy Trust. and the African Development Bank and technical support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and several academic institutions including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota and Virginia Tech.
Over the years, Resolute has won numerous awards including the West African Forum for Clean Energy Financing Competition (WAFCEF) (2013); “Engineer of the Year” in sustainable development”, Usine Nouvelle (2012); and was twice named to the Marine Technology Reporter’s “MTR 100” which annually recognizes the top 100 global innovators in ocean science and engineering.
Wave Energy Overview
The world’s oceans are an enormous potential source of clean, renewable energy that, at present, remain relatively untapped. For example, the U.K. Carbon Trust estimates ocean waves can supply about 10% of global electricity needs and, in the United States, the Electric Power Research Institute (“EPRI”) estimates that wave energy can supply about 7% of domestic electricity needs which is the equivalent of all hydroelectric generation currently in operation.
Wave energy has several advantages over other renewable energy resources with the first being that it is right next to coastal load centers. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the 28 U.S. coastal states consume 78 percent of the nation's electricity, but only six of them can meet even one-fifth of their power demand with land-based renewable energy technologies. According to the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) division of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), approximately 70% of the world’s population lives within100 kilometers of an ocean coastline and coastal population density is expected to increase markedly over the next several decades if urban migration continues at its current pace.
Waves have an energy density over 800x higher than wind which means that more energy can be extracted from a given area which translates into an offshore and onshore footprint that doesn’t require the sacrifice of large tracts of valuable coastal real estate. Wave energy has additional benefits related to its predictability (accurate localized estimates of wave conditions can be made up to 72 hours in advance), consistency (24/7 availability and less dramatic short-term variations in energy flux) and low visual impact (Resolute’s wave energy converters have a minimal surface presence).
Wave Energy Industry Growth Drivers
Developing innovative technologies that can cost-effectively supply clean water using renewable energy resources is critically important to continued global health and welfare. It is widely accepted that all nations must reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels while increasing fresh water supplies to support continued economic growth. Resolute expects that changes in public policy in response to these imperatives will have a long-term positive impact on its business. Other factors that will attract additional investment interest in Resolute and fuel its growth include:
- Establishing pricing mechanisms for CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases
- Continued population growth in coastal areas
- Initiatives to reduce urban migration by improving infrastructure in remote communities
- Increased adoption of distributed (rather than centralized) water and energy production asset models in response to coastal population growth and urban migration
- Protecting and growing sustainable “Blue Economies,” e.g. fishing, renewable energy, tourism and shipping, for coastal communities and islands
- Adoption of circular water management strategies
- Growth in the popularity and number of “green” hotels, resorts and real estate developments
- Increased pressure on global consumer products companies e.g. Coca-Cola, Nestle, etc., to become “water neutral'
- Becoming better prepared for disaster recovery operations
The ocean is an extremely demanding environment that, to ensure the survivability and cost-effective operation of any technology, requires careful attention to several design parameters. Resolute expects its Wave2OTM technology will be widely adopted because its design objectives are focused on features that deliver tangible benefits to our customers including:
- simplicity - fewer parts subject to wear/breakage. All complex systems positioned onshore
- modularity - fits any size power need & easy to maintain
- adaptability - adjusts to different wave climates without excessive customization
- small size - minimizes transportation/installation/retrieval costs and virtually eliminates service interruptions
RME’s testing program has validated our design strategy and as a result we expect to achieve sustainable competitive advantages related to lower up-front capital cost, lower operation & maintenance costs and significant potential for profit margin expansion when our Wave2OTM systems are manufactured in larger numbers.
Technology Development Milestones
In January 2009, RME conducted sea trials of an early point-absorber wave energy converter (WEC) prototype pursuant to a NOAA-funded project to develop a renewable energy power supply for offshore aquaculture systems. Since then, RME has been focused on developing a near-shore, bottom-mounted hinged flap design with R&D funding provided primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy. We feel this WEC type is ideal for several reasons:
- As a near-shore (shallow water) technology, less of the total project cost is devoted to the transmission system (hoses and cables) that carries pressurized seawater and data from the WECs to shore
- As a WEC technology that is fixed directly to the seabed:
- there are no mooring lines that can become entangled or entrap marine wildlife;
- the WEC(s) are not exposed to the extreme loads present at the surface during severe storms and in “full protection” mode, the flaps can be locked down flat.
Since its founding in 2007 Resolute has been developing and validating proprietary hydrodynamic modeling tools with assistance from researchers at MIT and have conducted several rounds of scale-model tests at Alden Labs in Massachusetts and at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) wave tank in New Jersey. In addition, we have conducted two rounds of ocean trials on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with the cooperation and assistance of the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute (UNC-CSI) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). More recently, we conducted extreme load tests at a wave tank facility in Inverness, Scotland and have been engaged in a multi-year, DOE-funded program focused on developing an advanced control system that maximizes WEC power output while coordinating the water production process in response to wave resource conditions. We were recently awarded a Phase I SBIR grant and we have submitted several grant proposals in Europe that are in the final stages of evaluation.
RME has been steadily building the value of its IP portfolio over many years and will consider other options including licensing and acquisitions of patents and patent portfolios.