Energy from the Ocean

More promising technology is OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Generation). This takes advantage of the fact that the ocean is an enormous heat engine.

Physics of Heat Engines:

Thermodynamic Constraints:

To get the highest efficiency one wants to maximize the difference between T1 and T2 but then their are material problems (containers melt, freeze, etc)

Typical Case:

How this all works:

  • Exhaust steam is condensed back into liquid thereby decreasing its total volume by a factor of 1000
  • Therefore the work done by the pump is down by a factor of 1000 compared to if it had to pump steam directly back into the system

  • Overall efficiency of the above is about 1/3.
  • a 1000 MW plant therefore requires a 3000 MW Boiler and 2000 MW are given off as waste heat

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