Deep Ocean Hawaii is taking Hawaii’s most abundant resource — ocean water — desalinating it and selling the purified product in bulk to companies in countries like China, where water is polluted or in short supply. “Hawaii can become an international leader in a safe and green exportation of water in a more socially responsible way,” says Rob Robinson, senior adviser for Deep Ocean Hawaii.
Most desalination water plants take water from the top 325 feet of the ocean, “which has a lot of environmental negative elements,” says Robinson. But, he says, Deep Ocean Hawaii’s electric pipe harvests water from 2,000 feet below the surface — “where the water is pure and it is going to have less ecological impact” — and desalinates it onboard its ship using reverse osmosis.
Deep Ocean Hawaii uses a ship called The Spirit of the North, whereas other Hawaii companies that sell purified seawater pump the water into onshore purification plants in Kona. The 150-foot ship pumps up the water from three to four miles off the Waianae coast, and transfers it at sea to a cargo ship.
The ship can pump and purify 130,000 gallons of water a day, but the company is increasing that to a million, says Roger Ulveling, president and CEO of Deep Ocean Hawaii and a former director of the state Department of Business and Economic Development. “We have taken technologies that have existed in other locations and put them together into a process that has solved the problems (of previous technologies).”
Deep Ocean Hawaii says it is in discussions with the state to
supply water in emergencies when the normal water supply is cut off.