Lockheed Martin Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion | Lockheed Martin
“This technology could offer, on one level, electricity to areas that either are remote or have limited conventional power, and is, on another level, essentially ‘green.’ Could replace lots of other less desirable fuel/energy cycles for the target consumers. Nice!”
--Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards judge
Lockheed Martin is working with Reignwood Group to develop an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant. The 10-megawatt plant, to be designed by Lockheed Martin, will be the largest OTEC project developed to date. The benefits to generating power with OTEC are immense, and constructing a multi-megawatt pilot OTEC power plant for Reignwood Group is a crucial step in the full commercialization of OTEC, making it an economic option to meet growing needs for clean, baseload, reliable and sustainable energy, Lockheed Martin says.
OTEC takes the natural temperature difference found in the ocean in tropical regions and uses it to create power. In geographical areas with warm surface water and cold deep water, the temperature difference can be leveraged to drive a “steam” cycle that turns a turbine and produces power. This technology is well-suited to island and coastal communities, providing a native, sustainable power source to places where energy transportation costs typically make power very expensive. Unlike other renewable energy technologies, this power is also baseload, meaning it can be produced consistently 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A commercial-scale OTEC plant will have the capability to power a small city. The energy can also be used for the cultivation of other crucial resources such as clean drinking water and hydrogen for applications such as electric vehicles.
Reignwood Group is currently developing two large-scale, low-carbon resort communities, with others planned in key locations in China. Using Lockheed Martin’s OTEC technology will allow Reignwood to develop low-carbon, sustainable communities. The OTEC system can be installed on- or offshore and can be built to provide 500 megawatts or more of electricity. Each year, a 100-megawatt OTEC facility can produce the same amount of energy as 1.3 million barrels of oil, decrease carbon emissions by half a million tons and provide a domestic energy source that is sustainable, reliable and secure. With oil trading over $100 a barrel, the fuel savings could top $130 million per year.
OTEC addresses the key concerns of global energy security, climate change, depletion of non-renewable fossil resources and pollution and can supply reliable, clean energy for many areas of the world. The technology requires no supplemental storage of the power required and practically zero carbon emissions. Critical advances in the technologies related to the system’s cold water pipe and heat exchangers will allow OTEC to serve as an economically viable energy source.