Harnessing Power from the Ocean
Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) makes use of vast solar energy stored in the upper layers of the ocean. The concept is simple—heat from warm surface ocean water is used to vaporize a working fluid, which turns a turbine to drive a generator to produce electricity. Deep, cold seawater cools the working gas back to liquid to be heated again in a 24/365 cycle.
The battle, of course, is in the engineering details. For more than 130 years, OTEC’s promise has enticed pioneers. Finally it was tested and proven technically feasible in the early 1980s.
OTEC International’s (OTI) leading edge technology and engineering, combined with the precarious global fossil fuel situation, makes it ready for the commercial market. OTI has a set of solutions that addresses a wide range of power needs for coastal communities and islands in the world’s tropical and sub-tropical zones.
A Leader in OTEC Development
OTEC International’s (OTI) investment in proprietary innovations to reduce costs and improve the performance of the OTEC power cycle has resulted in a portfolio of seven patents issued and dozens of patents pending worldwide. OTEC International has its eye on being among the first to market and a global leader in OTEC power generation. OTEC International’s power plants are designed to produce electricity that is consistent and predictable similar to base load fossil fuel plants. In contrast to intermittent renewables, OTI’s systems complement and enhance the reliability of island grids.
Starting with a scalable power cycle, OTI offers two platform designs to meet the diverse energy need of commercial customers – a floating power platform for 3- to 10-megaatts (MW) and a deep water spar for 25-MW up to 100-MW.
Our projects do not rely on government subsidies to be commercially attractive. The electricity produced by OTI’s floating power plant is generated from local resources at a cost that is essentially fixed and is competitive with conventional sources, ensuring energy security with less price volatility compared to imported fossil fuels.
OTEC International has substantially advanced OTEC technology, and is honored to have earned the American Bureau of Shipping’s (ABS) first-ever “Approval-in-Principle” for its moored OTEC spar design. The approval-in-principle, issued in May 2011, attests to both the experience and the sound ocean engineering of our plans. OTEC International has submitted its barge-based floating power plant design to ABS and is awaiting “Approval-in-Principle” prior to submitting its “Front-end Engineering & Design” package.
OTEC on the Way
For Grand Cayman Island, we have a term sheet with Caribbean Utilities Company to provide up to 25-MW of power using low profile floating power platforms (FPP) built in phases. The first phase will deliver 6.25-MW of power to Grand Cayman and subsequent plants would each generate seven to 10-MW for a total of 25-MW.
In The Bahamas, our team is discussing 3- to 5-MW floating OTEC power plants that we hope to deploy offshore of the “family islands.”
We are working on a lease to develop a small 600-kilowatt (gross) research, development and demonstration (RD&D) on-land power plant at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority in Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i. This plant would be used as a research site for continuous process enhancement and development of co-products and by-products of OTI’s OTEC power plants.
We are also in negotiations with Hawaiian Electric Company for a power purchase agreement for a 100-MW moored-spar platform offshore of O‘ahu, the island-chain’s population center.
OTI’s smaller plants will demonstrate the OTEC power cycle and the scalability of its technology in the near term, enabling OTEC International to proceed to larger commercial projects.