[The following is a story I wrote on Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion [OTEC] for NewScientist.com]
OTEC only makes sense where the temp. dif. between surface and deep water exceeds 20℃
FOR a company whose business is rocket science Lockheed Martin has been paying unusual attention to plumbing of late. The aerospace giant has kept its engineers occupied for the past 12 months poring over designs for what amounts to a very long fibreglass pipe.
It is, of course, no ordinary pipe but an integral part of the technology behind Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), a clean, renewable energy source that has the potential to free many economies from their dependence on oil.
"This has the potential to become the biggest source of renewable energy in the world," says Robert Cohen, who headed the US federal ocean thermal energy programme in the early 1970s...
[Get the full story here. Copyright Newscientist.com (Image:www.xenesys.com) ]
STORY BEHIND THE STORY
It's been fun writing about these once-orphaned renewable energy schemes that got a lot of RnD $ back in the day and are now getting a serious second look. I wrote one a couple years back on algae biofuel that feeds on CO2 exhaust that now looks like it might become a reality. In both cases, retired DOE guys who headed up the research in the 70s are suddenly in hot demand as they are the only ones with any hands on experience.
After this story on OTEC went to press, I heard that Taiwan is going in with Lockheed on their 10MW pilot plant off Hawaii.