Canadian company Oneka sets foot in Chile with sustainable wave-powered desalination technology

Algarrobo was the place chosen for the demonstration project of Oneka Technologies’ project, which has developed an innovative solution based on the energy of ocean waves to convert seawater into fresh water to supply both communities and industries.

Algarrobo, Chile, April 12, 2023 – In addition to the naturally arid northern parts of Chile, climate change and population growth as well as water intensive major economic drivers (mining, forestry, and agriculture) are exacerbating water shortages in Chile. To address these shortages, Canadian company Oneka Technologies installed and successfully tested its demonstrator project for desalinating water using wave energy on the coast of Algarrobo, a seaside town in the central coast of Chile, some 80 kilometers from Chile’s capital, Santiago. The initiative is aligned with the Agreement between Canada and Chile on Environmental Cooperation and in an event held this Wednesday, attended by governmental authorities of both nations, Oneka announced a new milestone: the opening of Oneka’s subsidiary in Chile.

Minister Mary Ng, the Minister International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, was joined by the Head of International Affairs Office of the Minister of Energy of Chile, Maria Helena Lee, and Dragan Tutic, CEO and Founder of Oneka, in touring the demonstration of the technology set at the Cofradía Náutica del Pacífico, a local Marina. During the past 6 months, the modular and scalable system deployed showed the potential it has to provide water to coastal communities by bringing water to the coastline that was produced solely using the power of the waves. It was also able to demonstrate its capacity to survive harsh storms that can occur in Chile.

Today, the Canadian government is proud to announce an investment of 4,9M$ into Oneka’s Glacier: Utility scale wave powered desalination project via Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), our Cleantech investment program.  SDTC is the largest funder of sustainable small and medium-sized businesses in Canada helping them scale-up their technology and grow their business in markets where the product market fit is obvious. The Glacier Utility scale project will be deployed here in Chile with a consortium of industry partners from the environmental research, mining and water sectors and will pave the way for Chile to take advantage of the huge wave energy potential.

After the visit and learning about Oneka’s sustainable innovative solution, Minister Ng highlighted the importance of the cooperation agreement between both countries and the role that her country plays as the number one foreign investor in Chile. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to work with likeminded partners like Chile. In particular, I’m glad to see how this Canadian technology from Quebec is providing a solution to water scarcity in Chile caused by climate change. To me, that’s the whole point of developing and strengthening free-trade agreements”.

— The Honorable Mary Ng, Minister International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

Oneka’s sustainable wave-powered desalination buoy systems are located hundreds of meters from the coastline and are anchored to the bottom of the sea. The oscillating movements produced by ocean waves mechanically pressurize the water and filter the salt from the water using reverse osmosis membranes. Subsequently, desalinated water produced by the buoys is transferred via an underwater pipe and stored in tanks located on the coast, ready to be distributed to the population for human consumption, irrigation or to be used in industrial settings with high quality standards and without impacting the environment.

“As a growing global population further strain freshwater supply, Oneka’s cost-effective, zero-emission solution works to deliver freshwater to water-stressed coastal areas.​ SDTC is proud to support Oneka’s technology development as they work towards making the ocean a sustainable, accessible and affordable source of freshwater.”

— Leah Lawrence, CEO of SDTC

According to Chilean Minister of Energy Head of International Affairs Office, Maria Helena Lee, this technology demonstrates that the uses of clean and renewable energy in Chile keep increasing and can contribute to significantly reducing CO2 emissions of an energy-intensive industry.

Meanwhile, Oneka’s decision to open an operating subsidiary in Chile comes as a result of the successful demonstration of the technology in the ideal Pacific Ocean wave conditions and Chile’s big coastline. Dragan Tutic, CEO of the Canadian firm, pinpointed all the potential benefits stemming from scaling-up Oneka’s technology in Chile, both to water-scarce communities and to productive sectors.

“By embracing the ocean’s full potential with its resource, seawater and its energy in the form of waves, we are showing that freshwater can be produced from the ocean while preserving the environment. Oneka’s technology desalinates the seawater using no land and emitting no emissions. The systems produce only freshwater that is sent to the coast and low-concentration brine that is released offshore and well mixed with the ocean waves. The multiple-outfall approach makes the brine release responsible with a negligible effect on sea life. It is also a great opportunity to have such a demonstration project so we can monitor in the real environment those elements. And finally, with its simplicity and the fact that it doesn’t have any energy cost, it represents a new water source that can be affordable for coastal communities and industries in Chile.”

— Dragan Tutic, CEO and Founder of Oneka Technologies

In addition, during the Oneka’s team visit to Chile, executives from different sectors have approached Oneka to learn about the company’s scaled-up models (called Iceberg and Glacier) that could generate up to half a million liters of water per unit  daily for either human consumption, mining activities or agriculture. Discussions have been advancing thoroughly in recent months, so the incorporation of Oneka in Chile was a necessary step in Oneka’s international growth strategy.

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About Oneka Technologies

Oneka Technologies is a Canadian firm born in Québec in 2015. The company has established technology in Canada, the United States and Chile, with the aim of fulfilling its mission to make oceans a sustainable and affordable source of freshwater.

About Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) helps Canadian companies develop and deploy competitive, clean technology solutions, to help solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges: climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil. By taking a cross-Canada approach, from seed to scale, and in partnership with the best peers and experts, SDTC is the global benchmark for sustainable development innovation programming.


For Media Inquiries:


Camille St-Pierre, Oneka Technologies / +18194850335 ext 711


Fernando Gómez, Azerta / +56995769049

Macarena Muñoz, Azerta / +56989060803