The world’s largest Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant has officially been activated in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
The 105KW, $5 million plant was built by Makai Ocean Engineering Inc. and produces electricity by using the temperature difference between colder, deep-ocean water and warm tropical surface waters.
In order to run a power cycle and produce electricity, OTEC plants pump large quantities of cold seawater and surface seawater.
Any tropical location with deep water is more than capable of housing an OTEC plant, which can produce power all day, every day, and is non-polluting and sustainable.
“The plant is dispatchable, meaning the power can be ramped up and down quickly to accommodate fluctuating demand and intermittent power surges from solar and wind farms,” Duke Hartman, vice president of business development at Makai, told Bloomberg.
He added: “We think that ocean thermal-energy will be an important element of creating a stable grid with renewable energy.”
The new Hawaiian plant is connected to the grid and can power 120 homes.