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/2006/01/04/9600218_Sea_Solar_Power/
You are here:
PureEnergySystems.com > News > Jan. 4, 2006

Sea Solar Power Inc. to Tap Sea Temperature Gradient

Those hot ocean waters have a more useful purpose than just generating hurricanes. A reverse refrigeration process generates electricity from the difference in temperature between surface and deep water.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News
Copyright © 2006

Source: SeaSolarPower.com

See Slashdot discussion on this story.

Thermal Energy

  • A pound of water raised one degree is lifted to an equivalent height of 778 feet.
  • OTEC operates on a delta -T of 40ΊF.
  • 40Ί x 778 feet = 31,120 feet
  • Best possible Carnot cycle designed by SSP is 3.25%
  • 3.25% x 31,120 = 1,011 feet
  • Warm water, cold water - divide 1,000 by 2 = 500 feet of head -- constant heat source.

Source: SeaSolarPower.com

Source: SeaSolarPower.com (animated)

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, USA -- Sea Solar Power Inc. (SSP) is developing a solar power technology that does not fluctuate with the weather, but is available constantly.

Their solution is to harness the solar energy stored in the sea by tapping the thermal gradient that exists naturally between the surface and deep waters, using a reverse refrigeration cycle.

The heat source is the 80° F surface water in the tropical oceans, while typically 3,000 feet below the surface is the heat sink or the cold bottom water, which is 40° F. This temperature difference is sufficient to operate vapor turbines, which drive generators and produces electricity and fresh water as a byproduct. (Ref.)

SSP models predict that the cost of energy generation through this method will be within a price range comparable to nuclear, coal, natural gas, and other contemporary grid power plants.


Optimal for Equatorial Zone

A brief summary on the company website points out that solar energy stored in the ocean throughout the equatorial zone could provide 300 times the world's consumption of energy." (Ref.)

SSP also calls attention to the fact that the greatest increase in demand for new power is occurring in this region. Population growth is greater there, and the standard of living, which had been rather low, is now picking up.


Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

Known as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, or OTEC, the basic technology was invented in 1881 by a French scientist, Jacques Arsene D'Arsonval.

SSP has been developing this concept since 1962, and is now in its second generation of leadership, with company President, James H. Anderson, Jr, is picking up where his father, J. Hilbert Anderson, who passed way last year, left off.  Jim III is also involved in this company that has been hard at this all these years.

J. Hilbert Anderson, the First, had realized that standard off-the-shelf heat exchangers and turbo machinery from the power industry for this application would be inefficient.  He set forth to design the major components anew.  In his model, advanced turbines and heat exchangers optimized for the duty would be employed.


How it Works

According to Jim Anderson and the company website, each plant would use multiple heat exchangers (evaporators and condensers), pumps, vapor turbines, compressors and generators. The system is charged with propylene, a refrigeration fluid. This refrigerant boils at low temperatures (67 degrees F) under a pressure of 150 psi.

The 80Ί F solar heated surface water is an ample heat source to cause the propylene to convert from a liquid to a gas or vapor. Warm water pumped through the boilers (heat exchangers) boils the propylene into a vapor, which expands through vapor turbines that drive the generators.

In order to complete the cycle, cold water (40 degrees F) is pumped up from the lower depths of the ocean. The cold water is used to condense the propylene vapor back into its liquid state and then it is pumped into the boiler to complete the cycle.

Electricity would be transmitted to shore from the plant-ship via underwater cable, or directly from the land-based plant to the grid. (Ref.)


Source: SeaSolarPower.com


Fresh Water Production

The company site also claims that in addition to electricity, large quantities of fresh water can be produced each day as part of the system.

Incoming warm water is de-oxygenated by means of a vacuum to prevent marine growth on the inside of the power plant. The water vapor can then be sent across cold heat exchanger surface area where it is condensed into fresh water.

This becomes a valuable by-product of the process.  The system could also be designed with the exclusive purpose of producing fresh water. (Ref.)


Toward Commercial Application

The company has been testing and refining the various components of the system over the years.  When they build their first full prototype, it will be a fully operational power plant.

James Anderson predicts that their testing will be complete in two to three years.  He says that the testing done thus far has been corroborating the projected cost estimates that predict that the system will be able to compete well with existing power generation technologies.


Pending Prototype

Depending on the contracting party the company ends up attracting, their first full prototype could be of a size anywhere between 10 and 100 megawatts output.  A shore-based plant would be of the 10 MW range, while the 100 MW plant would be a plant-ship.


About the Company

Sea Solar Power, a Pennsylvania corporation is the developer and owner of the Sea Solar Power Technology. The Abell Foundation of Baltimore, "dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Baltimore and Maryland" (ref.), has licensed the technology from Sea Solar Power. The Abell Foundation created a wholly owned subsidiary, Sea Solar Power International, to promote and market the Sea Solar Power technology.

# # #

SOURCES:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

CONTACTS:

Sea Solar Power, Inc.
250 North Main Street
Jacobus, PA 17407-1011
phone: (717) 428-3246
fax: (717) 428-2865

Robert J. Nicholson III
President, Sea Solar Power International
111 S. Calvert Street, Suite 2300
Baltimore, MD 21230
phone: (410) 547-1300
email: <nicholson {at} seasolarpower.com >


Related Coverage

  • Tapping Thermal-Gradient Cold: Free Power or Planetary Suicide? - Advocates of tapping ocean depths for stored cold promise a clean future. But is it really environmentally friendly, or a slippery slope into unrecoverable catastrophe? (PESN; June 3, 2005)
    Mary-Sue Haliburton, author of the above piece, gave the following comment (Jan. 4, 2005) in regard to the Sea Solar Power's approach.
    - - - -
    Indeed, I hope my concerns will prove to be unfounded! The other technology described in that earlier article was "mining" that cold, rather than tapping the heat at the surface.

    Perhaps in your vacuum de-oxygenation or other related processes, your approach will help cool that surface water down from its excessive heat, and thus help to preserve the deep-cold water as a resource.  And maybe even calm down some of those excess hurricanes...

Slashdot Coverage

Join the discussion at:
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/04/2212255&tid=232&tid=14

Harnessing Vertical Sea Temperature Gradient

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Wednesday January 04, @03:48PM
from the ohms-from-davey-jones dept.
 

Power
Science

Sterling D. Allan writes "Sea Solar Power Inc., run by three generations of James Hilbert Andersons, has developed a solar power technology that does not fluctuate with the weather, but is available constantly. Their solution is to harness the solar energy stored in the sea by tapping the thermal gradient that exists naturally between the surface and deep waters, using a reverse refrigeration cycle. The modeling and testing done by the Anderson family over three generations since 1962 predicts that the cost of energy generation through this method will be within a price range comparable to nuclear, coal, natural gas, and other contemporary grid power plants. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, or OTEC, was invented in 1881 by a French scientist, Jacques Arsene D'Arsonval. SSP should be ready to build their first full prototype 2-3 years from now."

See also

Page posted by Sterling D. Allan Jan. 3, 2006
Last updated December 24, 2014

 

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"It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." // "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right." -- Albert Einstein

ADVISORY: With any technology, you take a high risk to invest significant time or money unless (1) independent testing has thoroughly corroborated the technology, (2) the group involved has intellectual rights to the technology, and (3) the group has the ability to make a success of the endeavor.
Schopenhauer
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   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

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When you're two steps ahead,
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