This week, Global OTEC Resources announced the completion of the initial designs and feasibility studies for its plan to use ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) technology to provide green energy to ‘off-grid’ islands across the tropics, and is progressing to detailed design of the key components, with the aid of an £80,000 grant from Marine-i.
Marine-i describes OTEC as an application of solar energy that exploits the heat captured by the ocean from the sun’s rays. It possesses huge environmental advantages over fossil fuels and nuclear power; while avoiding land-use problems associated with renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric power.
Global OTEC Resources first received a £140,000 grant from Marine-i last September, which enabled the company to establish its operation in Cornwall.
Funding accompanies promising OTEC feasibility studies
Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is designed to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.
“We now have a preliminary design for our floating Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant. This enables us to provide an accurate, on-budget cost model to meet the needs of our identified market. Our work has already attracted a letter of support from the Maldivian government, as well as a memorandum of understanding from a major, publicly-listed hotel chain which owns 50 resorts across the tropics. This demonstrates the outstanding commercial potential of our technology,” said MD of Global OTEC Resources, Dan Grech.
As this development has progressed, technical studies have been completed which examined seabed conditions and soil types in The Maldives, as well as wind speeds, current speeds, and wave heights. For part of this, the Marine-i team enlisted the help of a research fellow at the University of Exeter, which has carried out pioneering work to support the project.
Matt Hodson, Marine Hub Operations Director at Cornwall Development Company and a partner in Marine-i, stated: “The biggest technical challenge for this next stage will be finalizing the detailed design of the seawater intake and outtake pipes which are of fundamental importance for the operation of the plant. The cold-water intake pipeline must transport tonnes of seawater every second, through a pipeline that is suspended almost a mile vertically from a floating barge. This a highly ambitious project which could put Cornwall at the center of an important marine technology of the future.”
“We are thrilled to have secured further support from Marine-i to enable us to de-risk the most challenging components of an OTEC system,” said Grech. “We are certain that successful completion of this stage will unlock significant private investment, which in turn will mean that we can scale up and transition into the final design phase – possibly as early as spring 2020.”