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Saturday, July 11, 2015

THE BIRTH OF THE BLUE REVOLUTION

The notion of a Blue Revolution to develop the riches of our oceans in harmony with the marine environment is hardly new.  My first acquaintance probably occurred in 1979 when I was asked by U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga to help draft the original legislation for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC).  This was during the heat of the Second Energy Crisis, and sustainable electricity was the primary  interest for this technology.

Over time it became clear that the cold deep ocean fluids had special qualities, also being pathogen free and high in those nutrients in the exact proportion necessary to promote new biological growth near the surface in the photic zone where the sun shone.  Almost magically, the combination of OTEC and the seas could produce a cornucopia of natural products:  electricity, biofuels, hydrogen, freshwater, next generation fisheries, marine biomass plantations, and more.  The platform on which the facility rested could in time function as ocean industrial parks, future Disney at Seas and floating cities.  As fossil fuels cause the Greenhouse Effect and nuclear power carries deadly consequences, a particularly monumental benefit to enhance the environment emerged:
  • As these ocean pods would be placed in the warmest portion of the sea, with a sufficient number of them, the potential of preventing or minimizing the effect of hurricanes became a possible reality.  
  • With the chemical balance of biological growth and the prospects of augmenting the effect with iron, could global warming be remediated?
But how could the above effort best be initiated to benefit humanity?  Governments seemed incapable and industry was not equipped to take on the risks of this billion dollar venture.  A stage one open ocean experiment, the Pacific Ocean International Station (PIOS), was advanced by Blue Revolution Hawaii, at a possible cost of $1.5 billion.  Our federal government built 21 B-2 Stealth Bombers at $2.2 billion EACH.  If the funds for just one of them had been applied to PIOS a decade ago, I wonder where the world would be today?  The cost of these recent Middle East wars has been speculated to be $6 trillion.  PIOS would be 0.025% of that estimate.  

There is a third option:  the super rich.  There are nearly 2,000 billionaires.  Surely there must be an enlightened individual or two out there seeking a legacy as the founder of a concept to pioneer this clean and sustainable marine pathway for our future society?

I felt so strongly that this was the ideal opportunity for Hawaii leadership that I endowed my penthouse apartment to the University of Hawaii to kick-off the challenge.  Mind you, this was not only charity, as tax laws are written such that:
  • I could have been saddled with up to $200,000 of capital gains tax.
  • Instead of being so burdened, the nature of the gift is such that I  won't need to pay any taxes for the next six years.
  • Finally, I gain a monthly income that in total would equal the original investment in 10-14 years, depending of the growth of the stock market.
In other words, this original sum would always be there until I pass away.  We can't wait that long, so the campaign now is to seek cost matching to initiate the program.  Jana Light and Tim Szymanowski of the University of Hawaii Foundation are spearheading this effort, and produced the following announcement:

Blue Revolution 


Humanity is facing combined energy and environmental crises. While limited funds are being invested into finding sustainable and renewable solutions, most of the applications are land-based. It’s time to expand our focus to the vast expanse of yet untapped energy and resources covering more than 70% of Planet Earth– the ocean. 

It is time for a Blue Revolution. 

Blue Revolution seeks to do what the Green Revolution did for farming 70 years ago: revolutionize the way we harvest, utilize, and reinvest our energy resources to support human life, while this time enhancing the environment. The scope of Blue Revolution is much greater, however. Harnessing the riches of the ocean would allow us to: 
  • Develop next-generation, sustainable fisheries to restock declining fisheries and create new ones. 
  • Meet the increasing seafood needs and demands of a growing global population shifting away from red meat. 
  • Satisfy the increasing energy needs of a growing global population. 
  • Grow marine biomass plantations for biofuels, hydrogen, green chemicals, and freshwater. Ocean microalgae, for example, can be five times more efficient in converting sunlight into biomass than any land crop. 
  • Remediate global warming. 
  • Prevent the formation of hurricanes. 
  • Spur the development of floating industrial parks. 
  • Create future cities at sea. 
To accomplish all the above, we first need to optimize a system powered by ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) to support a floating experimental Pacific International Ocean Station (PIOS). The facility would use the temperature differential between cold deep water and warmer surface water to produce sustainable, renewable energy, while re-utilizing the cooled effluent to stimulate biological growth in the surrounding sea. 

The University of Hawaii (UH), located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is ideally situated to become the world headquarters for the Blue Revolution.  In addition to its geographic advantage, UH also is home to the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), which can be ideally partnered with various elements of the School of Ocean and Earth Technology, plus associative programs throughout the State. HNEI is a leader in renewable energy research and technology, and focuses on identifying technically sound, cost-effective solutions and practical strategies that can be implemented to deliver commercially viable sustainable options for Hawaii and, by extension, the world. The intellectual capital and research infrastructure is here; what we need now are resources to take the Blue Revolution to the next level. 

We are seeking support to cost-match an initial Blue Revolution fund secured by the University of Hawaii Foundation to initiate our stage one initiatives. Your assistance will enable us to: 
  • Fund public lectures on the Blue Revolution, featuring local, national and international speakers. 
  • Initiate a variety of K-12 programs to introduce the concept to the next generations, and, more so, gain their assistance in developing future pathways. 
  • Gather together interested sectors of the local community—environmentalists, Hawaiian organizations, the full range of decision-makers from government and industry, and others—to help plan for our future. 
  • Co-host with Blue Revolution Hawaii (a community-led organization to stimulate development of this concept) a symposium of potential partners to discuss how best to plan for, construct and operate the Pacific International Ocean Station. 
  • Host a distinguished gathering of prospective contributors to catalyze interest in securing the funds for PIOS, estimated to cost, by 2020, $1.5 billion.

Feel free to contact:
Tim Szymanowski
         808 956 0843
Jana Light
        808 956 2276



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Speaking of preventing hurricanes, there are today six ocean storms in the Pacific Ocean:


Go to Weather Underground to view them all, but let me focus on two.  Typhoon Nangka is at 95 MPH, but will strengthen into a Category 3 and head straight for Japan:


As feared, Typhoon Chan-hom made landfall at 90 MPH over Zhoushan City, where Zhejiang Ocean University is located, the strongest such event within 200 miles of Shanghai in 35 years.  


Next stop, Korea.

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