To summarize, in OTEC we have an energy source that will be available as long as the Sun shines. If global warming melts all the ice at the North and South Poles, that would change the long-term dynamics, but this technology should last even in those circumstances for centuries.
OTEC was invented by the French, and proved to be workable by the USA and Japan (Nauru in 1981), the head of their effort, a close friend of mine, Fumio Ito (person on the left) of Tokyo Electric Power. A hurricane destroyed their facility, and a click on his name reveals a second set of tragedies.
Jules Verne first mentioned the OTEC concept in 1870 and Jacques Arsene d'Arsonval was the first to provide details in 1881, why have we waited nearly a century and a half to finally move forward? For one, any size to provide confidence to financiers has been too expensive to attempt. You can do this for only millions as an experiment, but a true test could cost billions. Five years ago China and Lockheed Martin signed a partnership to build an OTEC system for a planned resort community. However, the world still awaits movement.
Why do I think OTEC remains attractive? Wind power and solar energy only provide electricity. With this marine proposition there is potential for a cornucopia of co-products:
- Disney at Sea and other marine worlds
- floating cities
- environmental enhancement
- global warming remediation
- hurricane prevention