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Renewable Energy Sources for Caribbean Territories and SIDS: OTEC
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion
M. L. Anderson, 2009
Thermal energy- form of energy that manifests itself as an increase of temp.
Method for generating electricity.
Runs a heat engine- a physical device that converts thermal energy to mechanical output
Uses temp. difference that exists b/w deep & shallow waters.
Temperature difference between warm surface water and cold deep water must be >20°C (36°F) for OTEC system to produce significant power.
60 million km2. (23 million miles2) of tropical seas absorb a tremendous amount of solar radiation.
Heat content equal to about 250 billion barrels of oil.
If less than 1/10th of 1% of this stored solar energy. converted to electric power, it would supply more than 20 times the total amount of electricity consumed in the U.S. on any given day.
Hybrid plants, combining benefits of the two systems, would use closed-cycle generation combined with a second-stage flash evaporator to desalinate water.
1881- Jacques Arsened’Arsonval, French physicist, proposed tapping the thermal energy of the ocean.
1930- Georges Claude, d’Arsonval’s student, built the 1st OTEC plant in Cuba.
1935- Claude constructed another plant aboard a 10,000 ton cargo vessel off the coast of Brazil.
Weather & waves destroyed both plants before they could become net power generators.
1956- French scientists designed another OTEC plant for Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa.
The plant was never completed due to reduced energy costs. Large amounts of cheap oil became available in the 1950’s.
1962- J. Hilbert Anderson & James H. Anderson, Jr. started designing a cycle that focused on developing new, more efficient component design.
1967- patented new "closed cycle" design.
1970- Tokyo Electric Power Company successfully built & deployed a 100 kW closed-cycle OTEC plant on the island of Nauru.
1981- Became operational
Produced about 120 kW of electricity .
90 kW was used to power the plant & the remaining electricity used to power a school & several other places on Nauru.
Set a world record for power output from an OTEC system where the power was sent to a real power grid.
The Tokyo Power Company built a 100 kW shore-based closed cycle pilot power plant on the island of Nauru, in 1981. The pilot plant achieved a net output of 31.5 kWe during continuous operation, proving the principle of OTEC is a viable energy alternative. The plant is now decommissioned.
Postage stamps commemorating the OTEC pilot project located on Nauru.
1974- United States became involved in OTEC research
Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority was established.
Has become one of the world's leading test facilities for OTEC technology.
1980- two laws enacted to promote commercial development of OTEC technology.
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Act, and the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Research, Development, and Demonstration Act .
Proposed Lockheed OTEC System
The OTEC platforms could be located in shallow water, right on the edge of the trench, which is a huge escarpment like structure that plunges straight down.
Military and security uses of large floating plant -ships with major life-support systems such as power, desalinated water, cooling and aquatic food.
Ships such as this could save many lives and relieved great suffering in natural disaster areas such as the 2004 EQ/T in Banda Ache, Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.
OTEC Grazing plant-ship.
Benefits of OTEC:
Promotes competitiveness and international trade
Enhances energy independence and energy security
Promotes international sociopolitical stability
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from burning fossil fuel
In small island nations promotes self-sufficiency
minimal environmental impacts
improved sanitation and nutrition
Helps produce fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol
Produces base load electrical energy
Produces desalinated water for industrial, agricultural, and residential uses
Provides air-conditioning for buildings
Provides moderate temperature refrigeration
Potential to provide clean, cost effective electricity for the future
"Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion." Energy Savers. 30 DEC 2008. U.S. Department of Energy. 3 May 2009 <http://www.energysavers.gov/renewable_energy/ocean/index.cfm/mytopic=50010>.
"Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion." National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 3 May 2009 <http://www.nrel.gov/otec/what.html>.
"Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion." Wikipedia. 20 Apr 2009. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 3 May 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_thermal_energy_conversion>.