Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

looking-to-OahuMELE & OTEC International Partner to Develop 100 Megawatt (Power) Plant Ship

MELE Associates has forged a unique partnership with OTEC International and the Abell Foundation to deploy Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant ships to leverage the energy collected from the sun in the earth's tropical oceans.

OTEC is an economically and environmentally efficient process that converts the solar energy of tropical oceans into several critical resources on an ongoing basis:

  1. Low-cost electricity
  2. Hydrogen
  3. Jet Fuel Research
  4. Potable drinking water

otec1Warm surface water is pumped through heat exchangers to boil ammonia fluid which expands through vapor turbines to drive generators. Cold water from 3,000 feet below is pumped up to condense the vapor back to liquid to enable the cycle to repeat.

Currently, MELE Associates is involved in discussions with Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) to negotiate production of a 100 Megawatt Plantship.  Some of the potential benefits of this new, environmentally sound and cost-efficient  approach to OTEC are described below:

Low-cost Electricity: Achieving energy self sufficiency is clearly a more important priority than it has ever been. OTEC offers low-cost electricity production at more than competitive rates when compared to conventional hydro-electric power.

Hydrogen Fuel: To achieve the ultimate benefits of hydrogen, it must be produced by renewable resources. OTEC is one of the few renewable energy sources that can produce power continuously, unlike wind energy and traditional solar energy technologies. Continuous power production allows for the most cost effective hydrogen production because it maximizes the utilization of the hydrogen production equipment and the amortization of the capital investment in the hydrogen equipment – resulting in the lowest capital cost per unit of hydrogen produced.

Fuel Research: The OTEC process also yields ancillary processes that are being researched to assess the feasibility of producing jet fuel during the OTEC cycle. The ability to provide a completely independent fuel source for refueling aircraft on carriers at sea would significantly enhance our military options. As recent experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown, diplomatic efforts to secure operational corridors, bases, and flyover zones can have unpredictable outcomes. Reliability, availability, affordability and mobility all accrue to the benefit of military operations where flexibility and dependability of energy sources are essential to continued operations.

Drinking Water: The OTEC process yields millions of gallons of clean or potable water per day of operation for drinking, air conditioning, aquaculture or whatever other water needs the immediate area may require. A single 100 megawatt OTEC power plant ship produces approximately 32 million gallons of fresh water every day.

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