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Friday, September 13, 2013



Meeting of the US-Japan OTEC Working Group
FridaySeptember 13, 2013
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

As shown above, the new West Hawaii Civic Center, an energy self-sufficient operation, hosted the gathering.

OPENING PLENARY                                                                                                    

  • ·      Randy Kurohara, Deputy Manging Director, was the MC 
  •       Wally Lau, Managing Director, and Aunty Elizabeth Lee (Kupuna of area--above) provided a cultural welcome and blessing.
  •        Randy Kurohara:  A few words about Guy Toyama and history of workshop and trip to Kumejima.
  •        Rika Horikiri (above, wife of Guy):  Comments and a moment of recognition of Guy 

  •        Introduction of co-facilitators:
o   Dr Patrick Takahashi, HNEI Emeritus Director.
o   Bobby Command, County of Hawaii Deputy Planning Director.

Welcome Statements                                                                                                            
·      County of Hawaii—Wally Lau
o   Introduction of special guests:
§  State Representatives Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima
§  County Council members

  • ·      Okinawa Prefectural Government—Katsuya Furugen (above with Tomoyo Nonaka, Ambassador from Kumejima, among many other titles).
  •       Kumejima (Kume Island) Town—Planning Section Director Yukio Nakamura.

  •       NELHA Chairman of Board – John DeLong (right).
Overview of County of Hawaii Renewable Energy Projects
and Importance of OTEC                                                                                            
·      Will Rolston, County of Hawaii Energy Coordinator (with translator Michael Rogers to the right)
  •         Green Government Action Plan
  •         Bathymetry of the island allows easy access to deep ocean water
  •         NELHA is the Blue Revolution on land, with a variety of co-products
  •       50% self-sufficient with renewables today (YES, THE BIG ISLAND IS ALREADY 50% SELF-SUFFICIENT!!)

Overview of Previous Workshops                                                                            
·      Dr Yasuyuki Ikegami (above), SAGA University.
  •         From Vision to Action is the theme
  •         First workshop 2010 in Kumejima
  •         Second in 2011 at NELHA-Kona
  •         Third  in 2012 in Kumejima
  •         Fourth in Kona:  stimulated the construction of 100 kW OTEC test plants at Kumejima and Keahole Point, while providing the impetus to further add 1 MW OTEC facilities at both sites
  •         Japan and Hawaii are the only entities to attain net positive for OTEC
  •         Okinawa and Hawaii are the only sites capable of producing OTEC energy for their countries
REPORTING SESSIONS                                                                                               

Report of OTEC Demonstration Project in Kumejima
·     Motohiro Nagamine, Okinawa Prefecture
  •         Japanese government will work with the prefectures to fund demonstration in the real sea areas
  •         99.5% of Okinawa energy is from fossil fuels
  •         An OTEC 50 kW OTEC demonstration plant has been in official operation since April of this year, and another 50 kW will soon be added
  •         1 MW OTEC plant is next
Shin Okamura, Xenysys
  •         Cold water flow at Kumejima the largest in Japan
  •         Kuruma prawns represent half the annual revenues
  •         Current working fluid is HFC134a (needs to be an inert gas) so as not to affect quality of cold water for product applications
  •         The planned 1MW system will use ammonia
  •         10 MW OTEC facility for a model island in the Tropics

Report on OTEC Demonstration at NELHA
·      Michael Eldred (left with Pat Grandelli), Director, Makai Ocean Engineering OTEC Project.
  •         Company founded in 1973 and is responsible for all the OTEC pipelines in Hawaii
  •         Uncertainties remain for the cold water pipe, heat exchanger, environmental plume and platform
        100 kW OTEC power generator is being added for operation in the Spring of 2014
Eileen O’Rourke, Chief Operating Officer, OTEC International LLC.
  •         Legacy of 40 years
  •         1 MW OTEC plant to be built at NELHA to fully utilize the cold water from the 55 inch pipe
  •         Should become the only net positive OTEC plant in operation with timely construction
  •         3-5 MW offshore plant being designed for island markets
  •         100 MW OTEC facility for Honolulu power purchase agreement in advanced negotiations (drawing of system):

Report on OTEC Demonstration in China
·      Robert Varley, Program Manager, Lockheed Martin.
  •         10MW, next 100 MW, then other 100 MW plants
  •         With the Reignwood group, will sign a contract next week to build a 10 MW powerplant on land in southeast China

TECHNICAL SESSIONS                                                                                                          

Cooperation on Environmental and Technical Issues Associated with OTEC
·      Dr Patrick Takahashi, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Director Emeritus.

There was a broad discussion of the issues related to OTEC.  The overwhelming sentiment was for environmental research results to be widely shared.  There is so much yet to be learned, and governments should fund this need.  However, there appears to be no technical issues to prevent building a 10 MW OTEC demonstration plant.

Technology Transfer:  Using Patents and Licensing Agreements
to Share Technology                                                                                                  
·      Peter Matlock (above), Business Development and Technology Transfer Consultant to County of Hawaii
  • Patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret
  • States have different biases
  • Intellectual Property (IP) holds together technology transfer relationships
  • IP as hook for technology sharing
  • Negotiation really begin after the agreement is signed
  • Niels Reimers of Stanford University invented this field
  • graduates, publications, conferences, consulting, sponsored research........licensing agreements are at the bottom of the chain

Four Japanese OTEC Corporations provided summaries of their work.  Here is a graphic from one of their references:

Remarkably, as busy as they are, both Henk Rogers and Tomoyo Nonaka, the two leading keynote speakers at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Expo and Summit held earlier this week in Honolulu, were actively involved to the very end of the workshop:

Where Do We Go From Here?                                                                                 
·      Dr Patrick Takahashi, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Director Emeritus

There was strong consensus encouraging:
  •       Makai Ocean Engineering's effort to generate OTEC electricity at their NELHA by the Spring of 2014
  •       Kumejima adding 50 kW to their OTEC demonstration, bringing the gross production to 100 kW
  •       OTEC International signing the agreement with NELHA to install a 1 MW OTEC system, which, if successful, would make it the only net positive OTEC power plant in operation.
  •       Kumejima to install a new pipe and 1MW OTEC system.
  •       Lockheed Martin partnering with China to build a land-based 10 MW.
  •       Various consortia to succeed in a wide range of OTEC application projects in the Caribbean.
  •       Reunion's future OTEC initiatives,
  •       Okinawa to host the 5th workshops (discussions between the two parties will work out the details)
If several such projects proceed in parallel, that would maximize the prospects for long-term success and reduce the chances of a cataclysmic failure setting the OTEC field back another third of a century.  Financing will only get easier and production costs lower with each new effort throughout the world.  There now seems to be a clear path towards commercialization, as several demonstration facilities should be operational by next year, a "commercial" 10 MW OTEC system a year later or two in China, and a floating 5-10 MW power plant not long thereafter.  Who knows, OTEC International's 100 MW fully commercial OTEC platform could well in this rough timeframe be producing electricity and freshwater for Honolulu.

CLOSING REMARKS                                                                                                    

Randy Kurohara

The group took an Aloha photo:

Virtually everyone who is today prominent in this field (we missed you Ted Johnson and Jeremy Feakins) can be found above.

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