Open Cycle OTEC Seawater Research Test Facility-Site Study. March 1988. 1 V. (Copies 1,2)

Secondary Author(s)

Block, David

Report Number



Systems analyses and experimental studies have developed oceanthermal energy conversion (OTEC) technology sufficiently to prepare researchers for large scale system evaluations. The Caribbean offers an opportunity to conduct these experiments in an area which has an immediate need for OTEC products: electricity and fresh water. All Caribbean islands must import fuel for generating and many must either import fresh water or desalinate seawater using expensive electricity. A survey was made of the Caribbean Basin to select potential sites for an open-cycle (OC)-OTEC research facility. The technical specifications require a land based facility with access to at least 10,000 gpm of cold sea water, 20,000 gpm of warm surface water, and the necessary support services. Five islands were identified which could be suitable: Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, St. Croix and Curacao.Of these, Puerto Rico and St. Croix were selected as being the most probable candidates. Both of these islands have the necessary land, accessibility, utilities, governmental cooperationand support services. A closer examination revealed that the pipe necessary to reach acceptably cold sea water would be almost 50 percent longer off Puerto Rico than St. Croix. Since the cold water pipe cost is the major economic factor, St. Croix offers a cost advantage. St. Croix also offers English as the primary language while most Puerto Ricans speak Spanish. However, Puerto Rico has the advantage of having been studied more closely for OTEC applications and has demonstrated its interest and support of OTEC for many years. The purchase price of land, local cooperation (governmental, utility, and university) and environmentalpermits availability will determine the preferred site. The development of tourist facilities in the Caribbean is increasing. As these islands increase their populations and services, the need for electricity and fresh water will rise dramatically. Open cycle OTEC is a technology ideally suited to this region. The continued pursuit of solutions to technological barriers within the OC-OTEC concept should be carried to areas where the products are needed most.

Date Published



FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection

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