GLOBAL FUTURE ANALYSIS
PERSPECTIVES | SEA POWER
As oceans covers approximately 70% of the earth surface, they are huge solar power collectors. This power can be harvested. The temperature difference between deep seawater and surface seawater can be used for production of power (or by absence of that: for production of hydrogen). Due the fact that the temperature difference is only 20, maximal 25 degrees Celsius, the used technology is warmth pump based. OTEC is the common name this technology is called. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion. The concept is one huge hollow (so floating) concrete pipe that gets more hollow where it comes to the surface (more less air space under preventing collapse due pressure and has a stabilizing anti-roll-over effect). This huge structure will be build on a to cables attached structure between floating islands on/nearby the location. Iron in the construction will be replaced by silicon/glass fibers, to reduce the construction price and prevent corrosion of iron due the salt seawater. Maybe new concrete technologies will be developed so that more cheap local/nearby salinated sea soil based sand could be used for construction. OTEC has no influence on ocean currents (to massive and to powerful). OTEC could has biological impacts if the deep/surface water will be mixed. Closed circuits are therefore preferable. Almost any 'wet' construction company will develop their own OTEC concept. OTEC concentrations will be used to reduce power line investments. Hydrogen technology will reduce the powerline investment need, but mostly will cost efficiency and increase operational risks. Major cities and major industries (both energy deficit by nature) will make OTEC joint ventures with 'wet' construction companies. The purchase power of major cities and major industries in a post/expensive carbon era is disputable as the global economic design can swift to local prosperity due the too high costs of transport/mobility: the two facets major cities and major industries both are depending on as cheap available. OTECs could be land sided if nearby is a huge depth in the ocean. There are also surface based OTEC technologies that only explores the warmth in the ocean surface water the generate both electricity and fresh/desalinated water. Pumped up deep water can also be used in aquaculture, cold water species like salmon and lobster grows very good in it, plus it contains huge reservoirs of sea animal food. But the bacteriological impact must be researched (unlikely, but possible danger).
Author: Gijs Graafland
Back to Perpectives Index
Download the full Global Future Analysis report in PDF