SAROS Wins Award at Caribbean Desalination Association Conference

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The SAROS (Swell Actuated Reverse Osmosis System) team attended the 2016 Caribbean Desalination Association (CaribDA) Conference & Exposition in Port of Spain, Trinidad and was awarded the Best Paper Award in recognition of “Outstanding Presentation of a Technical Paper.” Over 20 presentations were given by companies ranging from Seven Seas Water to IDE Technologies. Topics ranged from “Technologies and Innovations” to “Financing and Economics in the Desalination Industry.”

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CaribDA President John Thompson explained, “The winner was chosen by popular vote among members and attendees of the conference.”

CaribDA is a non-profit organization that focuses on desalination and water reuse technologies that benefit the water supply issues in the Caribbean.  Most Caribbean islands depend largely on desalination to provide healthy potable water for their inhabitants.  CaribDA was formed as a platform to share information on desalination technology that help the islands, many of which have low resources and high-energy costs.  The hope of the Association is that members can work together to improve the quality and quantity of potable water and lower the costs of production.

Justin Sonnett, Co-Founder and Engineer with SAROS, presented the award winning paper.  “Finding a way around the huge energy requirements and power expense associated with current desal is sort of the holy grail in the industry,” explained Sonnett.  “Getting to talk about how we can completely eliminate energy costs from the process by utilizing the free and unlimited energy resource found in ocean waves was very exciting.”

The theme of this year’s conference was "Developing and Affording New Water Sources."   The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad from May 30-June 3rd and concluded with the Banquet Dinner where the award was presented.  “This was our first CaribDA conference and it was a tremendous experience,” stated Laura Smailes, Director of Operations for SAROS.  “We met many potential collaborators and received a great overview of the Caribbean desalination industry. We were honored to be able to present the SAROS technology to these industry leaders.”

SAROS had recently completed successful oceanic testing of their second prototype in conjunction with The University of North Carolina’s Coastal Studies Institute off the coast of Nags Head, North Carolina.  Testing verified the deployment and retrieval processes, and proved the concept for the wave energy converter worked. Co-Founder and Engineer Chris Matthews says, “Now it’s time to start making water.”  The SAROS team is looking forward to conducting a pilot study in Puerto Rico this fall, in partnership with OPAS (Organizacion Pro Ambiente Sustentable).

About SAROS Desalination
SAROS (Swell Actuated Reverse Osmosis System) is a wave driven, self-contained, desalination system with zero operational energy costs. The SAROS team is comprised of Chris Matthews, Justin Sonnett, and Laura Smailes – all graduates of UNCC.  The team has created a functional prototype, secured an initial sponsor and formed a formal company, EcoH2O Innovations, LLC.  Currently they are actively seeking funding while continuing with research and development and a goal to begin manufacturing in the near future. For more information find them at

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