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On Thermodynamic Geoengineereing: The Fourth Way

Buck the liquid phase is lifted by pumping not capillary action. For an 80 MW plant using ammonia as the working fluid Luis Vega estimates that  2,750 kg/s would be used. The estimated capital cost for a 100 MW plant ship is estimated at 2650 $/kw for the deep water condenser design in the MIT thesis. Locally the costs of a proposed hydro dam, the Site C, is estimated at $8.8 billion for 1,100 MW or 8000 $/kw.

Vogtle 3 and 4 for a combined 2,500 MW are estimated to cost $14 billion for a capex of about 5600 $/kw so I think the cost speaks for itself.

April 20, 2015    View Comment    

On Deep Sea Drilling Rules and the Transition from Fossil Fuels

A spill while mining hydrogen from the oceans would immediately dissipate into the air. Even a fire would produce nothing but water.

April 15, 2015    View Comment    

On The Lowest Cost Renewable Energy Comes With a 2000 Percent Environmental Dividend

Robert if we could convince ten million more or possibly only one or two of the kind of people who can make things happen we could solve the problem.

Thanks for your moral support.


April 11, 2015    View Comment    

On Is Research a Climate Change Placebo, or Possibly Even Worse?

The most contaminated sites on the planet are Hanford and Mayak where the U.S. and Soviet Union bankrupted themselves producing plutonium. No one in their right mind is prepared to replicate that folly.

April 10, 2015    View Comment    

On The Lowest Cost Renewable Energy Comes With a 2000 Percent Environmental Dividend

Lee, the chart comes from a comment by Berényi Péter to a SkeptikalScience article at

It ties in pretty well with the University of California Thermal Properties of Sea Water table available here.

April 9, 2015    View Comment    

On $43 Billion: Current and Rising Cost to Canada of Environmental Inaction

Hydro debt retirement charge costs Ontarians $11.5B

The residual stranded debt stems from the 1999 breakup of the province’s giant electrical utility, which had $38.1 billion in debt, mostly from building nuclear plants in the 1970s and ’80s.

April 6, 2015    View Comment    

On As California Loses Hydro Resources to Drought, Large-Scale Solar Fills Gaps

Stephen, California's water and a hydro solution was suggested here  and here. It's sort a good neighbour policy.

April 3, 2015    View Comment    

On Global Warming: Out of Sight, Peace of Mind

Bob, a 2010 NOAA study estimated the oceans are accumulating about 330 terawatts worth of heat continuously.

Currently we use about 14 terawatts of energy derived from fossil fuel.

OTEC replaces this with 14 terawatts of converted trapped heat but due to the thermodynamic inefficiency of the process it moves about 20-25 times more heat into the deep.

In essence it takes care of today's global warming problem and replaces the burning of coal and oil as you and I wish to see.  Electrolysis of sea water done the right way, also removes CO2 from the atmosphere.

If you have a better solution, I am all ears

March 29, 2015    View Comment    

On The Climate Case for Hydrogen

Hops, a lot of the fishing boats around here are made of aluminum and it is most often suggested as the best material. The smelting of Bauxite has also been suggested as a high value use for emissions-free electricity produced offshore. A colleague did a study, I don't have access to it at the moment, that suggests 20 years output of the world's smelters would give you all the resources you need for this undertaking.

There is also the fact that OTEC has been suggested  as a way to access a lot of the mineral wealth dissolved in the oceans.

March 28, 2015    View Comment    

On The Climate Case for Hydrogen

Rick, the first I heard of this evaporation effect was in an earlier comment of yours. It is an interesting  theory explained in part in Wikipedia under "global dimming".  If ocean heat cannot escape through evaporation that is one more reason why that heat, which remains stratified on the surface, should be moved to the deep. OTEC produces energy abscent the pollutants that are causing the dimming and possibly some surface effect that might interfere with evaporation. It has also been suggested that the removal of pollutants from the atmosphere would boost warming and thus increase ocean warming?

Circles within circles?

March 28, 2015    View Comment    

On The Climate Case for Hydrogen

Rick I defer to your superior knowledge regarding hydrogen bonding and likely intellect as well. My problem is I don't see that even a cell that could covert sunlight directly into hydrogen would solve the existing problem. I subscribe to the original premise in this piece that "To stop climate change, flat CO2 emissions aren't enough."

We already have a huge problem associated with heat buildup in our biosphere, mainly in the upper reaches of the tropical ocean, and this isn't going away for centuries, if not millennia.

There are only two things you can do with trapped heat; move it somewhere else or convert a portion of it to work.

Nature is moving it somewhere else, to the poles, which is and will continue to contribute to our woes.

My thesis is we can move it as well into the ocean depths, where it would have very little impact, and convert a portion of that movement into as much energy as we are currently using.

To get that energy to where it is needed would require electrolysis. To use the hydrogen the best option is probably a fuel cell and these two processes are thermodynamic mirror images only with the enthalpy and entropy signs reversed.

I fully understand OTEC is inefficient in an engineering and thermodynamic sense. The thing is that inefficiency works to our benefit because the more energy you use the more heat you have to move into the deep and to a point, you can go to far with it, this would be a good for the environment as it currently exists, IMHO.

Always interesting to hear your thoughts.



March 27, 2015    View Comment