OTEC - Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

University essay from KTH/Energiteknik

Author: Joakim Laestander; Simon Laestander; [2012]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: OTEC is a technology where power is produced by utilizing the temperature difference in the oceans between surface water and water from the deep. It is considered that a temperature difference of 20K is required – a temperature difference found close to the equator.This report investigates if OTEC can produce enough electricity to provide 100 000 people, living on a generic island of 10 km2 somewhere alongside the equator in the pacific ocean, with their electricity needs. In this project a literature review has been made to establish a basic knowledge of OTEC and later a mathematical model has been programmed and simulated. Finally the results of the simulation has been examined and discussed.Two different cycles has been simulated alongside each other with the goal to establish which one of these two cycles that were best suited the island. To facilitate computing some assumptions and simplifications were made.The closed cycle (CC) was the most effective but the open cycle (OC) had several positive synergies that the closed cycle didn’t have. The costs of a facility of both cycles were based on older studies in the field and the conclusion was that the open cycle was the cheaper one. Facilities of both cycles can effectively meet the islands energy needs but if OC is chosen before CC more facilities has to be built due to the OC has lower energy output.Further work and development is necessary before OTEC seriously can challenge todays fossil fuel based energy systems, or until the oil starts to get too expensive. Today OTEC technology demands large investments but if the positive environmental effects and the fact that the island releases itself from import of energy are taken into account there are incentives to invest in OTEC already.

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