Essay Water and Warm Surface Water

Submitted By Nesa24
Words: 1063
Pages: 5

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion There are a lot of clean, alternative energy sources that we can use that provide a constant reliable source that is both effective and negative effects on the earth is closest to none. There is one in particular that peaked my interest. 75% of earth’s surface is covered in bodies of water, in other words the world’s oceans. The ocean can produce two types of energy: Mechanical and Thermal. (www.renewableenergyworld.com) I was interested in thermal because I’d heard producing energy from the sun in many ways but none involving the ocean. I was curious as to how they managed to get energy without the power that waves and tides produce and contain, which is what they do in mechanical energy. The sun’s heat warms the surface water much more than the deep sea water and the temperature difference creates thermal energy. There are 3 types of electricity conversion systems they use in Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: Closed-cycle, open-cycle, and hybrid. (www.renewableenergyworld.com) The closed-cycle systems use warm surface water and vapor to get energy. After taking the oceans warm surface water the system then vaporizes it into a ‘working fluid’, which has a low boiling point. While the warm surface water is being pumped through a heat exchanger, the cold deep sea water is pumped into a separate heat exchanger. (Science.howstuffworks.com) Open-cycle systems boil sea water instead of running it into a heat exchanger. But still converts the sea water into steam that passes through a generator. The steam leaves salt behind in the low pressure container where it was once a liquid. The steam is now pure. It is then condensed back into a liquid by exposure to deep ocean water. (Science.howstuffworks.com) Hybrid systems are a combination of both a closed system and an open-system. Warm sea water enters a vacuum chamber where it is turned into a vapor. The vapor vaporizes a low boiling point fluid that then drives a turbine to produce electricity. (Science.howstuffworks.com)

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, or OTEC, works best when the temperature distance between the surface layer and the deep ocean water is around 20 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). (www.eere.energy.gov) OTEC was proposed by the French engineer Jacques- Arsene D’ Arsonval in the early 1880’s, he had no idea how much of an impact his idea could make on the economy and the environment. (www.britannica.com) Since the temperature is quite specific the areas where OTEC will do it’s best work is also specific: Just between the tropic of Capricorn and the tropic of Cancer. (www.livescience.com) Careful site selection is the most important thing to keep in mind in order to keep environmental effect to a minimum though placing plants throughout tropical oceans can eliminate almost all negative effects. To bring cold water to the surface, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plants purchase an expensive, large diameter intake pipe that is submerged a mile or more in the ocean. (www.livescience.com) This reliable energy source is very useful and proof that there are other energy resources. This one may be the most convenient, considering that just a small portion of heat in the ocean can power the entire world. If we keep going on this way who knows what will happen. If we switch to this method we don’t have to be making large, expensive, windmills that wind energy requires. We also don’t need to worry about placing even more costly water wheels and dams in the proper places to get energy which hydroelectricity requires. The effects are our environment is near to none, the expensive are relatively low, there is almost no man labor necessary (since you have machines working for you), and you do not have to worry about moving the location constantly because the ocean is so vast that you can never run out of water to use! While we are busy polluting our planet and the air that we breath there…