As we see a rise in renewables, we also see a rise in the technological options within renewable energy. One of these is Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) which uses the natural temperature difference in tropical oceans between the surface water and deep water to generate power.
The technology, best applicable in tropical regions with population centres near the coast, can transform a temperature difference of 20 degrees Celsius, or more, into clean energy.
Berend Jan Kleute, who works for OTEC technology provider Bluerise, housed at the Delft University of Technology explains: “This source of renewable energy can be used for a third of our ocean surface and is now in a phase where we can start implementing actual projects. The technology is now commercially viable and of interest to the industry.”
The energy best accessible using offshore floating structures. Key technical challenges under investigation are the dynamic behaviour of the floating structure and the cold water pipe, its interface and the power cable.
Furthermore, in cooperation with the TU Delft, Bluerise has designed and constructed a room size demonstration of an advanced OTEC power plant. Having a working, demonstrable plant is an important step in the development of larger scale OTEC systems.
Not only the Netherlands has shown interest, according to Kleute DCNS, a leading player on the world market for naval defence systems, in France has just received a 72 million euro subsidy to realise an OTEC plant off the coast of Martinique. Kleute: “This will be an important milestone.”
Bluerise has tested the feasibility of a 10MW offshore OTEC facility, which was not only positive, but also showed great potential for growth in the years to come.
Kleute: “We will start a pilot on land first and from there on will venture out into the ocean. Currently we are working from Curacao, Sri Lanka and Jamaica, among others. This has the potential to be the energy of the future, but we do need the cooperation of the whole supply chain. From engineering companies to builders as well as contractors and operators. The OTEC conference to be held, partially, during OEEC will offer participants the opportunity to connect with the offshore and specifically the marine energy industry, share knowledge and best practices to be able to achieve more innovations regarding OTEC Technology.”
The OTEC Conference is an annual meeting that brings together ocean energy researcher from allied fields. The conference will be held in the Netherlands for the first time on 25 and 26 October 2016, partially hosted at OEEC – further strengthening OEECs focus on marine energy, alongside offshore wind and oil & gas. Attendance can be combined with the Marine Energy event in partnership with EWA during OEEC.