In this article, we will discuss OTEC. So, let’s get started.
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)
- The technology which uses ocean temperature differences from the surface to depths lower than 1,000 meters, to extract energy.
- Research focuses on two types of OTEC technologies-
- In Closed cycle method, a working fluid (ammonia) is pumped through a heat exchanger for evaporation and the steam runs a turbine. The vapour is turned back to fluid (condensation) by the cold water found at the depths of the ocean where it returns to the heat exchanger.
- In Open cycle method, the warm surface water is pressurized in a vacuum chamber and converted to steam which runs the turbine. The steam is then condensed using cold ocean water from lower depths.
- It has high (94%) capacity factor which makes it the best power source and although it has a high initial cost, low maintenance and regular power supply makes it an attractive alternative.
- OTEC is supplied by an infinite supply of solar energy and the stored energy in it after sundown makes it a 24 hour power supplier.
- There are no emissions from the OTEC power plants so air quality will not be degraded.