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Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: How It Works in Principle (Research Paper Sample)


the task was on electricity production and The paper was on alternative sources of energy.


Ocean thermal energy conversion
Institutional affiliation
Ocean thermal energy conversion
Ocean thermal energy is a renewable form of energy. This kind of energy source was conceptualized by a French physicist, Jacques Arsine in the late 19th century. Georges Claude, a student of Jacques Arsine came up with the first working OTEC plant in 1930 .energy demands are growing, need for newer energy sources are necessary. This form of energy (OTEC) is both environmentally clean and renewable. Therefore, the energy source can never be depleted. Power demand is on the rise globally. With increasing, global populations power demand is also on the rise. Energy needs in the residential areas and the manufacturing industries are on the rise. OTEC is a sustainable source of energy which when harnessed can be used to meet the ever-growing energy demands. Although little progress has been made so far concerning this field, there is so much potential in it.
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (O.T.E.C), is a revolutionary way of harnessing power energy from the seawaters. During the day seawater gets heated up by the solar energy. The surface water absorbs the incoming solar radiation. Seawaters beneath remain at relatively lower temperatures. This setup creates a temperature gradient between the surfaces seawaters and the seawaters deep below. The difference in the seawater temperatures ranges from 200 degrees to 250 degrees centigrade. The higher the temperature gradient between the surface waters and the waters at lower depth the more significant is the system efficiency. Due to global warming effects, the seawater temperatures will continuously be on the rise. If O.T.E.C technology is well enhanced, there is a potential having a sustained energy supply. With the
Polar ice meltdown seawaters are bound to rise. Because the sun shall always shine, there exists the significant potential for O.T.E.C to thrive.
How O.T.E.C works in principle
The warmer surface water is pumped through a heat exchanger. The warmer waters run through the heat exchanger, heat is harnessed. There is a special chamber in place. The chamber contains a liquid of a low boiling point. The captured heat is then used to evaporate the liquid. As the liquid gets heated, it changes its state. The fluid is turned into gas. As the process continues a vaporized gas under high pressure is obtained. This gas is then used to rotate the turbines. Consequently, clean electricity is generated at the tail end of the process. For an efficient system to result in the temperature difference has to be at least 20 degrees Celsius. The higher the temperature gradient, the better the result. Research has shown that a one-degree increase in the temperature gradient there is an overall increase in energy produced by average 15%. O.T.E.C energy can be produced round the clock, unlike solar energy which is effectively harnessed during the day.
Available O.T.E.C systems
There are two known O.T.E.C systems.
i) The open cycle system
This setup makes use of the warm surface seawater to generate electricity. The warm seawater is channeled into a low-pressure chamber. When the pressure drops, the warm seawater undergoes a drop in its boiling point. As a result of the decrease in the boiling point the water
Starts to boil. The boiling water produces steam that is used to run a low-pressure turbine which in turn generates electricity.
ii) Closed cycle system
This system makes use of working fluid that is of a low boiling point such as Ammonia. The warm water at the surface is channeled into a heat chamber containing the liquid. The heat energy is captured and used to vaporize the liquid. The rising vapor is then used to turn turbines for electricity generation.
Cold seawater at great depths is then harnessed .the water is usually at around 5 degrees Celsius. The cold water is channeled into a heat exchange chamber where it is used to condense the vaporized gas back to liquid. The liquid is then channeled back into the system.
O.T.E.C plant in Hawaii
Hawaii has an ambitious plan of having 100% clean energy by the year 2045.As a result, more sources of clean, sustainable and renewable sources have to be established. O.T.E.C is one front that offers a solution to their ambitious plan. An OTEC plant was recently developed in Hawaii by Makai Ocean Engineering. The 100-kilowatt facility became the first closed-cycle OTEC plant to be connected to the U.S national...
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