Waves to Water Create Stage Winners

Colloide and partners Pure Marine wave goodbye to the ‘CREATE’ stage and advance onto the final stage of the Waves to Water competition. This is brilliant news for our team Sea Potential who have been selected within a group of 5 finalists.

  • DUO Wave-Powered Desalination System (Orono, ME)
  • Ballast, Buoys, and Borrowing from Archimedes (Edwards Air Force Base, CA);
  • MZSP Freshwater Production System (Woodbury, CT);
  • Oneka Snowflake (Fort Pierce, FL);
  • Wave-Actuated, Tethered, Emergency Response, Buoyant Reverse Osmosis System (Wake Forest, NC);


What is the Waves to Water Prize?

The Waves to Water Prize is a five-stage competition that offers up to $3.3 million in cash prizes. Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO). It aims to accelerate innovation in small, modular, cost-competitive, wave-powered desalination systems capable of producing clean water in disaster relief scenarios, as well as in water-scarce coastal and island locations.

Over almost three years, the prize will provide innovators a pathway from initial concept to technical design, to prototype, to field testing systems that provide clean, abundant drinking water using only waves as a power source.

“These innovative technologies have tremendous potential in advancing marine energy solutions for our blue economy and addressing global drinking water challenges,” said George Bonner, the director of the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program at Coastal Studies Institute, in a press release.


Stage 1: CONCEPT – closed 90 DAYS: June 13, 2019 to September 11, 2019
Stage 2: DESIGN – closed 120 DAYS: November 14, 2019 to March 13, 2020
Stage 3: ADAPT closed 180 DAYS: June 8, 2020 to November 30, 2020 5:00 P.M. ET
Stage 4: CREATE closed 180 DAYS: February 2021 to August 2021
Stage 5: DRINK Open now 180 DAYS: September 2021 to Spring 2022 (anticipated)

What’s next?

Sea Potential’s DUO Wave-Powered Desalination System is an inflatable device that captures energy using a hydraulic cylinder (which uses liquid instead of air or electricity to power mechanics). The device uses that energy to pump seawater through a reverse-osmosis membrane, which extracts salt and other impurities to produce drinkable water.

As stage finalists, Sea Potential will test our system at Jennette’s Pier in North Carolina, in partnership with the Coastal Studies Institute to see if our prototype can use the power of waves to produce clean and abundant drinking water. The testing period will run over 5 days in the open ocean. All CREATE stage winners have earned $100,000 and we will have up to 180 days to build and ship our wave-powered desalination prototypes.

In the DRINK Stage the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Coastal Studies Institute will evaluate each device for:

  • Flexible in Varied Wave Conditions. Competitors must develop systems that can survive harsh wave conditions and operate under different wave conditions and different sites without major tuning to ensure operation at a wide variety of locations. All solutions that make it to the DRINK Stage will be evaluated in an open-water test at Jennette’s Pier, which experiences average- to low-energetic wave resources.
  • Easily Deployed. Systems must be able to be deployed in less than 48 hours, addressing the need to deploy quickly and easily in a disaster-response scenario where there is large uncertainty in site conditions.
  • Shipped in a Standard Container. Technologies must fit into a predefined container to standardize the shipping constraints that face many disaster-response and recovery scenarios. The internal dimensions of the container are approximately 41 by 44 by 35 inches.
  • Operated Without Environmental Degradation. Brine discharge, or other salt concentration issues resulting from the process of desalinating water, will need to be managed without creating environmental issues.
  • Deliver Minimum Water Quality. The maximum total dissolved solids (TDS) quantity for this competition is 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L).


The DUO wave power system is integrated with a standard metocean buoy for a low cost, low carbon advanced ocean monitoring campaigns.



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