The planned construction of an OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) power plant in the Southern Chinese high seas sets the bar for all potential global OTEC construction and development. The power plant is intended to be a joint venture between two business giants, US-based engineering corporation Lockheed Martin and Hong Kong-based construction consortium Reignwood. The power plant will provide and sustain the energy requirements of the holiday resort township to be developed by the Reignwood consortium.
Once operational, the power plant will be able to generate up to at least 10 mega watts of energy, enough to sustain the energy requirements of a smaller metropolis.
The Chinese high seas were specifically chosen as a preferred location for the power plant. The warmness of the oceanic water in the tropics accounts for a greater degree of variation between the surface and sub-water temperatures which results in great enhanced workability for the power plant.
In addition to its comparatively higher energy generating capacity, the proposed OTEC power plant will also offer the following benefits:
- Consistent and round-the-clock production of energy without any stoppages or interruptions
- Substantial reduction in the emanating of noxious gases
- Substantial reduction in conventional fuel consumption costs
According to the engineering experts of the project, the energy generated through the power plant can also be transferable to other areas like desalination of water resources and providing fuel to electricity-driven automobiles. A highly ambitious venture in terms of its monetary investment, the OTEC power plant nevertheless promises to bring in significant yields to both investing parties.
OTEC Power Plant: Operational System
- Consisting of turbine systems placed above the surface of the water, the OTEC power plant will primarily involve boiling a liquid by channelizing the warm surface waters of the ocean
- The liquid utilised will be one having a comparative lower boiling point so as to offset faster boiling
- The next step would involve an equally rapid cooling of the thus boiled liquid passed through pipes to the under-water turbine systems positioned underwater
- Energy would be generated by this constant process of the fluid being boiled and cooled
OTEC Power Plant: Future Expectations
The utilisation of OTEC power plants has been considered as an alternative fuel generation system since the late 20th century.
The Chinese OTEC power plant however lays the foundation of its work ability in the widest of sense even allowing for potential constructional plans to be discussed for OTEC power plants capable of generating to up to 100 mega watts of energy. If such power plants do come into existence, it will result in a massive sustaining of the global ecology by harnessing safer and surer methods of energy generation.