How does OTEC work?

The OTEC unit.  

An OTEC unit comprises two heat exchangers, a turbine, and a generator.  One heat exchanger contains cold water, the other warm water.  A working fluid such as ammonia is held within the heat exchangers.  Warm and cold sea water is used to change the properties of the ammonia.

Our single OTEC unit will be very similar in size and appearance to the yellow skid mounted heat exchangers shown.

OTEC uses everyday equipment which is a great advantage.

You can find several working examples of working OTEC systems around the world, just type OTEC in on Wikipedia

How does the unit work?  

The unit runs on the pressure difference created by warming and cooling a working fluid in a closed cycle.  In the case of OTEC the fluid is warmed and cooled with sea water.

  • When the working fluid is heated it gains pressure and volume.
  • When the working fluid is cooled it loses pressure and volume.
  • This effect causes a ‘wind’ inside the system which can be used to generate electricity by driving a turbine and generator.
  • The process of warming and cooling the working fluid is repeated constantly.
  • Thus OTEC is source of constant power.

OTEC is powerful!  

There is a dramatic difference between the volume of the working fluid as liquid and working fluid as gas. Thus, the system is really quite powerful.

Since the sea water is only very warm, not boiling or thousands of degrees it is not as powerful as conventional power generation but the power density remains far greater than both solar and wind power.

OTEC is like a wind turbine in a box.  With a clever use of working fluid such as ammonia it is possible to create ideal conditions in the box making it more powerful than natural sources of ‘wind’.

OTEC is a source of concentrated and sustained clean energy.  The really great thing about OTEC is the availability of the parts and their cost.  Traditionally the cost of delivering the cold water has been too high.  We are confident we have solved this problem.  We can make smaller OTEC systems which cost less by avoiding the use of rigid pipes.

What is wrong with OTEC?

The problem with OTEC is arguably nothing more than a lack of awareness.  Crowdfunding could resolve this problem.  However, it is a fact that OTEC installations are notoriously expensive.  Lack of awareness results in a lack of innovation and interest in using of the technology to make money.

The lack of awareness of the OTEC market is probably because it is has not obviously been viable or obviously applicable to the worlds main continents.  These are issues which we amongst others are trying to resolve.  Our offshore platforms for example, are deliberately minimalist with no surface platform and use hoses not pipes.  Our platform is little more than a plurality of OTEC power units held in a suitable frame, joined to a communal supply of warm and cold sea water.  The platform has been designed so that it can be mass produced and installed in large numbers on the continents without there having to be many offshore floating structures.

Can you help us out? 

Would you like to make a small investment?  You can lend us money on this page, we are offering up to 12 times your investment.  Click on this link to find out more.



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