The future of generating power could lie in the ocean with Lockheed’s Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant. It’s not the motion of the ocean that matters, Lockheed’s Ocean Thermal Energy can create unlimited power simply due to its location in the ocean.
Lockheed Martin announced that it will be partnering with Beijing-based Reignwood Group in order to create a 10MW green power plant that leverages icy water from deep in the ocean and sun-warmed water from the surface in order to cultivate the power.
The plant will be placed in the South China Sea, and is slated to be finished by 2017. When completed, it will be the largest commercial OTEC plant ever constructed.
The plant takes the theoretic principles of thermal energy production first articulated by French physicist Jacques Arsene d’Arsonval in 1881.
Certain issues have presented themselves for the plant’s construction, as the building-site faces a 40-degree water temperature difference year-round, with deep water being fairly close to the shore.
The size of the project also proves to be problematic.
“The biggest obstacle to OTEC is economies of scale,” said Duke Hartman, a spokesman for Makai Ocean Engineering. “You get a lot more bang for your buck if you go bigger.”
Hartman estimates that a 100MW plant, the kind the Pentagon hopes to eventually build, would cost approximately $1 billion.