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Alternative Energy from the Ocean

Were you aware that there is energy in the Ocean? The Ocean Energy Conversion or OTEC originated in 1881.

There is a Natural Energy Laboratory in Hawaii that is home to an experimental energy plant. OTEC is an experimental energy source that should be explored.


The great obstacle to get around with OTEC implementation for wide and practically useful levels is cost. It is expensive and is at and is not cost effective to mass produce at this time. This type of energy is very clean and would not add pollutants to the air. We are not as technologically advanced in this area and therefore, we do not have the technology to work with the plant and produce it on a large scale basis. At this time, it could actually in fact damage the environment so much more research needs to be done.

There are three types of OTEC.

A closed type of OTEC uses a liquid such as propane which acts as an intermediary fluid. The plant pumps the warm water into a chamber and boils the fluid. This results in a vapor which pushes the turbine and this motion generates electricity. Then the vapor is cooled by placing in cold water.

Then there is open cycle OTEC which does not use a fluid. The water drives the turbine engine in this format. Warm water is turned into a low vapor which is then vacuumed. The vapor is released and it now has the power to control the turbine. The vapor is then cooled down and made for human consumption.

There is also a theory called Hybrid OTEC which is still in the planning stages. Hopefully in the future I can be used with thermal energy in ocean water.

There are two principals on the theory behind Hybrid Cycling. One involves the use of closed cycling for generating electricity. Then the electricity is used to make a vacuum which is needed for open cycling. Next, the second aspect uses the combination of two cycles such with twice the amount of water which creates an open cycle.

Along with the production of electricity, a closed cycle plant can be used for chemical treatment. OTEC plants, which use two types of cycling can also be used for pumping cold water which can used for refrigeration purposes as well as air conditioning.

Also, when the plant is not in use, other projects can take place such as aquaculture projects and fish farming. In the future, experts are looking forward to discovering a variety of services and products that can be used from this promising alternative energy source. Scientists believe there is a great deal on the horizon that has yet to be discovered in this area.


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