Variable renewable energy sources for powering reverse osmosis desalination, with a case study of wave powered desalination for Kilifi, Kenya
Journal article, 2020

An analysis of reverse osmosis powered by ocean wave power is provided. A commercially available desalination system is connected via a DC/AC converter to a variable DC source and the input voltage is altered to emulate the response of a renewable energy system. Specifically, wave data from Kilifi in Kenya during 2015 is used. The wave resource variations provide variations in estimated power output from a wave energy converter, as well as in estimated freshwater production from a wave powered desalination system. Up to three wave energy converters for desalination are investigated for Kilifi. Also, a hybrid system including solar and wave power is proposed. The experiments show that reverse osmosis desalination systems can function at power levels below the rated values, but with lower freshwater flowrates. It is concluded that wave power, or wave power combined with PV systems, may be considered as power sources for desalination, with or without battery storage.


Ocean wave power

Reverse osmosis desalination

Renewable energy sources


Jennifer Leijon

Uppsala University

Dana Salar

Uppsala University

Jens Engstrom

Uppsala University

Mats Leijon

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Electric Power Engineering

Cecilia Bostrom

Uppsala University


0011-9164 (ISSN)

Vol. 494 114669

Subject Categories

Energy Systems

Marine Engineering

Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering



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