OTEC works like a reverse refrigerator: that is, it takes electricity to produce cool and heat (feel the back of your fridge), but in OTEC, the deep cold water and warmer surface water combine in a heat exchange process using an air-conditioner-like fluid to turn a turbine to produce electricity. This water from depth also is very high in nutrients to re-start biological growth to support marine biomass plantations and next generation fisheries.
During the OTEC Summit held at NELHA a year ago, Xenysys indicated their interest in building a prototype and hopes to have running a 50 kW demonstration plant in March of next year on Kumejima Island, Okinawa:
Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (also known as Ocean Engineering and Energy Systems), which has been seeking financing for a 6 MW OTEC plant with fresh water production for the Navy at Diego Garcia.
French invented OTEC, and in the past entertained thoughts of this option for Tahiti. There is some movement about a 10 MW system there, but more recently, Reunion Island appears now to have the edge for the first facility. In 2005 I made an unforgettable journey to this island, and have since then kept in touch with their efforts. They (left) visited Hawaii two years ago.
closed-cycle OTEC process. There is virtue in open cycle for smaller applications requiring potable water. At the summer World Renewable Energy Forum, Desikan Bharathan and I discussed how to facilitate this option.
Finally, Blue Revolution Hawaii has proposed the Pacific International Ocean Station for nations to cooperate on the development of OTEC for the Blue Revolution. This would be the Planet Earth counterpart to the declining International Space Station. There too is Shimizu's Green Float Project.
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- State of Hawaii
- Blue Revolution Hawaii