Riding the Wave: Oneka Technologies' water scarcity solution

Water scarcity is a real issue impacting the majority of the world’s population, and there needs to be strategies put in place to improve the supply of water of those impacted by water scarcity.

According to UNICEF, four billion people, which is almost two-thirds of the world’s population, experience severe water scarcity for at least one month a year. Not only this but half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025, and around 700 million could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030.

Oneka Technologies is a startup that is focusing on addressing the issue of water scarcity through its unique, environmentally friendly approach.

The company's system uses mechanical buoys to harness wave energy, which is then used to pump seawater through filters and reverse osmosis membranes. This produces freshwater that can be supplied to coastal populations and industries.

Oneka Technologies’ missionOneka Technologies

Marie-Cécile Cléroux, Marketing and Communication Coordinator at Oneka Technologies told Startups Magazine: “Oneka's mission is to make the oceans a sustainable and affordable source of fresh water. To this end, we offer desalination solutions that exclusively use the ocean's wave energy to transform seawater into fresh water for coastal communities and industries facing water scarcity. Oneka doesn't just supply water: we increase our customers' resilience to drought, enabling them to adapt to the impact of climate change.”


She continued: “We provide different solutions that can meet the water needs of a wide market:

  • Icecube class units (up to 1 m3/day): emergency relief applications and forward applications.
  • Iceberg class units (up to 50 m3/day): small coastal communities and industries, resorts, etc.
  • Glacier class units (up to 500 m3/day): municipalities and large industries, agriculture, etc.”

The different solutions are deployed depending on the needs of the population in each particular area.

How does it work?

Oneka Technologies' wave-powered desalination process is a remarkable innovation in water treatment technology which can have a huge impact in improving the lives of those in need.

How it works

Here's an overview of how it works:

The core of Oneka’s technology is its mechanical buoys that harness the power of ocean waves. These buoys are deployed off the coast and use the kinetic energy from wave movements to power the desalination process.

The oscillating motion of the waves is harnessed to activate a water pump. The seawater is pressurised when the buoys rise and is propelled towards a process plant in which water is filtered and desalinated through an energy-optimised reverse osmosis process before being harmlessly discharged back to the sea.

Buoys can be configured with a desalination plant on each buoy, a larger desalination plant on one of the buoys, or with a desalination plant onshore with an electric backup pump, depending on the client’s needs.

Water is transmitted to the shore using the residual wave energy in a submerged pipeline, which can then be stored or directly distributed. Instrumentation and telemetry are powered by a solar/battery pack.

Eco-friendly and efficient

Oneka's solution has been designed with the environment in mind. The intake system of its buoys is carefully crafted to protect marine life, featuring fine mesh filters that prevent harm to ecosystems. The desalination process involves self-cleaning strainers and filters that effectively remove salt, bacteria, and other impurities from seawater, producing clean, drinkable water.

The system's scalability and modularity mean that it can be adjusted to meet varying water demands without the need for constructing new infrastructure. This flexibility makes Oneka's solution an attractive option for a diverse range of applications, from supplying water to coastal communities to supporting industries and resorts.

The environmental impact of Oneka Technologies' buoys extends beyond their primary function of desalination. An intriguing aspect of their deployment is the observed ecological benefit associated with their anchors. These anchors, once positioned on the seabed, have shown potential in promoting marine life growth, effectively acting as artificial reefs.

What was the inspiration behind starting the company?

Cléroux commented: “During a trip to Corsica, Dragan Tutic, the CEO and Founder of the company, asked himself: where does water come from?

“He knew that it was possible to create electricity from waves, and that it was possible to desalinate sea water. The solution to the challenge of access to water then became obvious to him: combine the resource (water), the energy (waves) and the proximity of coastal populations.”

The waves of change

In an era where sustainable solutions are paramount, Oneka Technologies stands out with its wave-powered desalination technology. Offering a practical, environmentally responsible, and scalable solution to water scarcity, Oneka is poised to make significant contributions to global water security and environmental conservation. As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change and resource depletion, technologies like those developed by Oneka offer a hopeful glimpse into a sustainable future.