Cover: Quantitative Evaluation of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)

Quantitative Evaluation of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)

Executive Briefing

Published 1980

by Eugene C. Gritton, Richard Y. Pei, Ron Hess


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Documentation of a briefing summarizing the results of an independent quantitative evaluation by The RAND Corporation of ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) for central station applications. OTEC uses the temperature difference between the warm surface waters of the ocean and the cold water from the depths to drive a power system which generates electricity. The electrical power is transmitted to shore by an ocean cable system. The authors' evaluation of OTEC is based on resource availability, technical feasibility, and cost. They find that the thermal resources in the Gulf of Mexico may yield tens of GWe in generation capacity, that OTEC appears most competitive in regions highly dependent on imported oil, that no one component drives system cost and thus it is unlikely that a single component breakthrough will result in a dramatic cost reduction, and that the cold water pipe and cable systems require increased R&D to establish feasibility.

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