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The First Commercial Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Power Plant: Taking a Renewable Energy Technology Project From Concept to Commercial Operation

[+] Author Affiliations
Dennis Loria, Edward Sullivan

R. W. Beck, Inc., Framingham, MA

Robert Nicholson

Sea Solar Power International, Baltimore, MD

Paper No. POWER2004-52114, pp. 655-670; 16 pages
  • ASME 2004 Power Conference
  • ASME 2004 Power Conference
  • Baltimore, Maryland, USA, March 30–April 1, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4162-6
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is one of the few renewable energy technologies that can provide an unlimited source of continuous, electric power. Sea Solar Power (SSP) is currently involved in a coordinated design and commercial development effort that will bring their patented SSP OTEC cycle to commercial operation in 2007. The SSP OTEC cycle not only provides continuous electric power, but also provides large quantities of desalinated water, which is even more valuable than electricity in many countries and islands. The first 10 MW land-based SSP plant is now being developed for application on an island in the Caribbean. (Negotiations are ongoing, so the location cannot be disclosed at this time, but will be disclosed when the paper is delivered at the conference.) This paper will review the on-going efforts that will bring this technology to commercial operation and the potential benefits of this technology. The technology is based on a proprietary binary Rakine thermodynamic cycle that utilizes the temperature difference between warm surface water and cold deep sea water. These temperature differentials are unique to the Tropics. The 10 MW landbased SSP plant will also provide 11,355 cubic meters-per-day (3 million gallons-per-day) of desalinated water. Another beneficial byproduct of this technology is the ability to support mariculture, or fish-farming, using the nutrient-rich deep seawater. Mariculture can provide food for thousands of people and enhance the economy of the host country, as an export commodity. R. W. Beck is supporting the design of the standard, 10 MW land-based plant for this application and is also supporting the commercial development activities of SSP.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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