Celebrating Hawaii ocean thermal energy conversion power plant

Celebrating Hawaii ocean thermal energy conversion power plant

An ocean thermal energy conversion power plant has gone operational; it was celebrated at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority earlier this month. The governor of Hawaii, David Ige, "flipped the switch" to activate the plant.

This is the first true closed-cycle Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant to be connected to a U.S. electrical grid, said Big Island Video News.com.

A number of reporters for sites such as Renewable Energy Magazine and Popular Science were regarding the new plant as a significant marker in ocean efforts. This is a "demo" plant connected to the grid, capable of generating enough electricity to 120 homes a year. (It's 105 kilowatts, enough to power about 120 homes.)

Big Island Now said kilowatts of sustainable, continuous electricity will be generated by the-site plant. While 120 homes is not a large number, the plant is considered significant as a test bed to commercialize conversion technology and to bolster innovation.

The process involves power derived from ocean temperature differences, as Mary Beth Griggs in Popular Science said, "between the warm, shallow seawater lapping up against a beach and the icy depths of the ocean." Griggs said the plant, built by Makai Ocean Engineering and situated at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), expects to generate enough energy to power 120 homes per year and is the largest plant of its kind in the world.

The company described OTEC as a process that can produce electricity by using the temperature difference between deep cold ocean water and warm tropical surface waters. "OTEC plants pump large quantities of deep cold seawater and surface seawater to run a power cycle and produce electricity."

Anna Hirtenstein in Bloomberg reported that the project cost about $5 million to build and said that this is the world's largest plant to date utilizing the evolving renewable source.

Celebrating Hawaii ocean thermal energy conversion power plant

The state of Hawaii hopes to be wholly powered by renewables by 2045, said Bloomberg.

Hawaii's governor, David Ige, said Dan McCue in Renewable Energy Magazine, predicted that this will pave the way for larger plants serving a wider geographical area.

"Today marks the launch of the world's largest operational ocean ," said Governor Ige. "This plant provides a much-needed test bed to commercialize ocean thermal technology and bolster innovation, and it serves as a stepping stone to larger that will provide meaningful amounts of stable, clean power to Hawai'i and other locations in Asia Pacific, such as Okinawa, in the near future."

Makai Ocean Engineering began in 1973 as an ocean engineering company and has been pioneering OTEC research, with various contracts. Duke Hartman, vice president of business development at Makai, said in a phone interview with Bloomberg that the plant is "dispatchable." That means power quickly can be ramped up or down to accommodate fluctuating demand and intermittent power surges from solar and wind farms.


Explore further

Partnership to build world's largest OTEC plant off China coast

More information: www.makai.com/ocean-thermal-energy-conversion/

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Aug 25, 2015
If ocean temperatures increased, it would make this process more efficient.

Inv #803781

Aug 25, 2015
Will this increase marine life with the cycling of bottom nutrients, or will it cause weather problems with the changes is sea surface temperatures?

Aug 25, 2015
jljenkins proposed, "If ocean temperatures increased, it would make this process more efficient."

That will only be true if the temperature differential between shallow, warmer water and deeper, colder water is increased by global warming - since it's the differential that is the source of energy they're capturing.

I haven't read of any climatologists making that prediction, have you?

Aug 25, 2015
gkam asked, "Will this increase marine life with the cycling of bottom nutrients, or will it cause weather problems with the changes is sea surface temperatures?"

First question -there may be local effects on marine life. One reason to run a test plant is to learn what the effects are.

Second question - Everything affects weather. It's 'sensitive to initial conditions.' Even so, you'd have to create a pretty darn vast energy extraction infrastructure based on this technology to make a noticeable change in weather patterns.

Aug 26, 2015
"you'd have to create a pretty darn vast energy extraction infrastructure based on this technology to make a noticeable change in weather patterns."
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Sounds like what they thought about coal.

Aug 29, 2015
$48,000 per Kw beats Calder hall !

Aug 29, 2015
"We must bring this up at the christian technological review committee, to check for sorcery, witch craft or satanic manifestations."
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No, don't! We can just do anything we want without checking for consequences!

Fukushima and Chernobyl showed us that.

Aug 29, 2015
OTOH: Time to get it working. We are making big changes, and not all technologies can now support themselves:

"PJM Interconnection, the nation's largest grid operator, announced on Friday that it will pay $164.77 per megawatt day (MWd) to generators beginning in June 2018 as a result of a capacity auction held earlier this month. The new payment numbers represent a 37% increase over current payments, Bloomberg reports.

The auction results were hailed as good news for existing generators, which stand to gain if they meet the stricter performance requirements. Three of Exelon's nuclear facilities, however, did not clear the auction, putting their futures in doubt."

http://www.utilit.../404480/

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