Monday, December 15, 2008

Hawaii and Taiwan Ink 10 MW OTEC Deal

The state of Hawaii is partnering with the Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan to build a 10 MW OTEC plant off the shores of Hawaii.
OTEC could provide renewable electricity generated from the difference in temperature between the ocean’s warm surface and its chilly depths.

The ocean temperatures and the subsea terrain make the waters surrounding both Taiwan and Hawai‘i superior locations for this technology. Lockheed Martin Corporation has developed and studied OTEC technology for over 30 years. Its plans for a 10-MW OTEC pilot plant in Hawai‘i are already underway. _Source
OTEC takes advantage of warm solar heated surface waters in combination with cold deep ocean waters, to provide the necessary heat differential to drive a heat engine. Besides generating electricity, OTEC can also create fresh water, and provide abundant air conditioning for the tropics. Aquaculture promotion from nutrient-rich deep seawater is another benefit.

Closed-cycle OTEC uses a refrigerant/heat exchange material to drive the power turbine. Alternatively, open-cycle OTEC uses vacuum "flash distillation" to create fresh-water "steam" to drive the turbine and to provide fresh water.

Both forms of OTEC provide power and air conditioning, although only the open-cycle form provides fresh water directly. Closed-cycle OTEC can provide fresh water via condensation on surfaces cooled by the deep cool seawater.

OTEC is a relatively small scale power source, but should suit large numbers of tropical island communities that have access to deep seawater.



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