DOWN TO THE SEA FOR NEW ENERGY, Part 4
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion
Ysabel Yates, December 8, 2011 (TXchnologist)
"… With the world’s population surging…limited land resources…[are overburdened producing] food and energy…Fortunately…space is abundant…[on] over 70% of the planet’s surface…[and the] ocean is awash with potential for alternative energy…There are hurdles…But there are a number of technologies…[that have the potential]…"
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"…Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)…[exploits] the temperature difference between the warm, top layer of the ocean and cold lower layers. One promising technology, called closed-cycle conversion, uses the ocean’s warm surface water to vaporize a working fluid with a low-boiling point, such as ammonia. As the vapor expands, it turns a turbine, activating a generator that produces electricity. Open-cycle systems boil seawater by operating at low pressures, producing steam that also passes through a turbine or generators. Cold water from deep in the ocean then condenses the vapor back into a liquid and the process starts anew. The U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command awarded a $4.4 million contract to Lockheed Martin to develop critical system components and designs for a pilot plant off the coast of Hawaii, which is now in its final design stage."