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Saturday, May 16, 2015

PROGRESS IN OCEAN ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

The Blue Revolution is about the only Planet Earth and Humanity activity I now dabble in these days, but that concept embraces a whole range of sustainable resource options.  Here, for example, is one of my typical daily communications (which I enhanced):

Someday there will be a conjunction of the Pacific International Ocean Station, OTEC, hydrogen and other co-products.  While the current price of oil makes serious consideration of this pathway a challenge, and, worse, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has oil at $69/barrel at the beginning of 2024, from the beginning I've felt that it will take that mythical progressive billionaire to make this all happen.  Thus, the awesomeness of the mission should trump cost for that enlightened individual.   After all, we are all, mostly, involved with a long-term legacy for Hawaii and Humanity.

To contribute to this discussion, let me share a few thoughts:

My colleague, Dominic Michaelis (his Energy Island to the left), published an article this week claiming Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion can slow climate change.   He bases that slowing on the production of 5 terawatts of OTEC power but since the ocean's potential output is three times that great; the process comes as close to a climate “cure” as there is, particularly in terms of a source of energy.

  • On the matter of Hawaii wind power production, I certainly agree that the regimes between our islands show the highest potential for this option.  Plus the NIMBY problem is largely avoided, especially if you do this over the horizon. (Henry Curtis, who heads Life of the Land, provided a posting on this subject.)  However, rather than moored farms, I've always thought that free-floating facilities moving in a gyre made the most sense.  On the other hand, this is only #11 of my Fifteen Greatest Ideas, all perhaps beyond the pale.
  • I yesterday had lunch with Duke Hartman of Makai Ocean Engineering.  They have already linked the components, and the system works.  If the NELHA pumping system can be sufficiently improved, this facility has the potential to become the only active OTEC power plant to provide net-positive electricity.  Lockheed's Mini-OTEC in 1979 achieved this goal, and the only other system currently in operation, the one on Kumejima, Okinawa, does not.  Duke indicated that the Nauru experiment by Tokyo Electric Power and their team, plus the PICHTR open cycle system also attained net positive.  This is the facility at NELHA:

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Wow, Dolphin is now a Super Typhoon at 160 MPH, with gusts to 195 MPH, and did some minor damage on Guam, but seems now headed mostly northward and nowhere in the general direction of the Bering Sea:



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