Reverse Osmosis hydraulic system development for a wave powered desalination buoy - QC-096

Preferred Disciplines: Master or PhD student with a background related to desalination, water filtration and hydraulics (Mechanical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering etc.) 
Project length: 4 to 6 months
Desired start date: As soon as possible
Location: Sherbrooke, Quebec (+ trip to Florida, USA for tests. Covered by Oneka)
Preferences: No preferences for language
Company: Oneka Technologies 

About Company:

Small startup from Sherbooke that begun the developpement of the desalination buoy back in 2012. The company is currently developping its 4th generation of prototype and targets next year for its first commercial contract. The team is small, efficient and not afraid of challenge to make an impact.

Project Description:

Reverse osmosis membranes are sensitive to pressure and flow fluctuations with limits defined by the manufactures. As the Oneka system is powered with wave power, the power input fluctuates and is uniformized with company’s patented system. Though, an adapted membrane selection, configuration and optimization has to be conducted to ensure that the longevity of the system is sufficient. This will also include the development of a proper pretreatment process of the water intake for this particular case of the desalination buoy.

Background and required skills

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

  • A membrane selection and configuration that optimizes the buoy’s water production
  • A validated pretreatment process that is adapted to the buoy’s environment and process


  • Litterature review of the different membranes on the market and the pretreatment used in similar applications
  • With the information gathered, designing the optimal reverse hydraulic system
  • Model and validate numerically the system
  • Validate the model using bench tests and/or the buoy sea testing

Expertise and Skills Needed:

  • Knowledge in reverse osmosis desalination membranes and water treatment
  • Knowledge in hydraulic circuits and assemblies
  • Ability to create numerical models
  • Confortable with hands-on activities

For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
  2. Complete this webform. You will be asked to upload your CV. Remember to indicate the title of the project(s) you are interested in and obtain your professor’s approval to proceed!
  3. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Jérôme Cabana at, jcabana(a)