to drink if we could somehow remove the salt from the water. That, however, is
“Salt and water really like to be together,” Justin Sonnett says. “It’s very
difficult to pull them apart.”
Difficult, but not impossible. Sonnett has done it. During his senior
year as an engineering student at the University of North Carolina Charlotte,
the Wilmington native and Wrightsville Beach surfer was part of a team that
developed a system that used wave power to desalinate (remove salt from)
“We tested the first prototype here at Wrightsville Beach,” Sonnett says.
“We borrowed a buddy’s boat and dragged it out just past the inlet and let it
rip. It worked. It didn’t work very well, but it worked.”
solve the world’s
But is it a viable
B Y S I M O N G O N Z A L E Z
Justin Sonnett and his wave-powered desalination buoy in the waters off
Masonboro Island in 2016.