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On Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion a Silver Bullet for Climate Change?

Roger, I made no claim to cooling the Earth. My objective is to address the problem of sea level rise, which I propose can be done six ways: - converting ocean heat to mechanical energy using ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), - electrolysis of ocean liquids to produce oxygen and the energy/water currency hydrogen, - desalination of ocean water - capture of runoff before it enters the ocean (these two then use the water for irrigation and the replenishment of depleting aquifers, - the movement of surface ocean heat to a depth where its coefficient of expansion is half that of the surface, - and throttling of the movement of tropical heat to the poles by the conversion of this heat to mechanical energy and the movement of surface heat to the deep where it contributes less to sea level rise. OTEC is a great technology. As you infer though the cold water pipe is a problem, which I believe is addressed by heat pipe and counter-current heat flow which can also strengthen the heat pipe. Keven Trenbeth - http://indymedia.org.au/2013/04/01/kevin-trenbeth-on-the-2011-sea-level-bump-and-australias-wettest-2-year-period - notes in 2011 sea level rise went into reverse and lost 5mm from the global oceans. Half of this ended up falling on Australia in 2010 and early 2011 rainfall. I think we can do something similar in Canada by moving the excess rains we receive, which mostly flow north to the Arctic, instead to the south where there is a considerable need for fresh water and where aquifers are being pump dry and according to Yadu Pohkrel this alone, globally, added .77 mm to the oceans each year since 1961.
April 4, 2013    View Comment    

On Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: National Security Implications

Edward, OTEC would address acidification like most other non-carbon energy sources. It can supply close to twice the primary energy we are currentlyusing.

It could be said however, to the extent it cools the ocean it might increase acidification because colder liquids dissolve more gas.

On the other hand a UBC scientists predict a 14-24% reduction in fish size by 2050 as ocean temperatures increase due to lower oxygen concentrations. A colder ocean stores more oxygen?

It's kind of a case of pick your poison, though I think the maximum benefit is derived from cooling.

I went over some of this territory here The Existential Imperative: Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion.

March 30, 2013    View Comment    

On Canada’s Most Priceless Commodity Is Not Oil

Fire Water - one of the six ways I have a patents pending to address the sea level problem is to convert a portion of the oceans liquid volume to its gaseous components to enable the Hydrogen Economy. To the extent the Calgary method makes electrolysis cheaper it would facilitate such an outcome.

Back tracking from the comment below, I have no qualms with the science, it is the politics eminating from my alma mater I have no truck with.

March 30, 2013    View Comment    

On Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion a Silver Bullet for Climate Change?

OTEC is a true triple threat against global warming. It is the only technology that acts to directly reduce the temperature of the ocean (it was estimated one degree Fahrenheit reduction every twenty years for 10,000 250 MWe plants.

If you can lower the temperature of the surface by converting heat to work and moving 20x more heat to an area with a lower coefficient of expansion you lessen thermal expansion.

A visualization of the data is available at skepticalscience comment 53. The data is extrapolated from University of California Press

March 30, 2013    View Comment    

On Canada’s Most Priceless Commodity Is Not Oil

First benefit, reducing the risk of $28 trillion in coastal infrastructure damage projected to be at risk by 2050.

Cost - Nagan Srinivasan says he will build a 100MW plant for $400 million US. His design uses heat pipe

Gerared Nihous says 25 terawatts is available from OTEC. With counter-current heat flow I believe this is lower limit.

16 terawatts of primary currently generates about $6 trillion in economic activity annually.

March 29, 2013    View Comment    

On Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: National Security Implications

Dr. Paul Curto, former Chief Technologist with NASA,"OTEC is a true triple threat against global warming. It is the only technology that acts to directly reduce the temperature of the ocean (it was estimated one degree Fahrenheit reduction every twenty years for 10,000 250 MWe plants in '77)"

With a slightly different design, using an ammonia heat pipe instead of a cold water pipe, proposed by Jim Baird and Dominic Michaelis (British Patent No. GB 2395754), no water from the bottom is released into the upper strata of the ocean, trapping all the CO2 deep beneath the thermocline. Little pumping energy is used to circulate the ocean water, simply enough to pump warm surface water to flow over the evaporator end of the heat pipe. If the condensing end of the heat pipe is exposed to a thousand feet or more of near freezing temperatures below the thermocline, no cold water pumping is required. The parasitic losses are cut in half. The costs for the cold water pipe are eliminated, along with the cold water return pipe and condenser pumps, the cleaning system for the condenser, and the overall plant efficiency approaches 85% of Carnot vs. about 70% with a cold water pipe. The parasitic losses could be reduced as much as 50% and the complexity, mass (and cost) of the system reduced by at least 30%. The vast reduction in operating costs and environmental impacts would be worth investigation alone.

Melvin Pruiett of Los Alamos also has patent application for heat pipe design as does Dr. James Lau, Phd Physics.

Re Hurricane Suppression

Florida Atlantic University and University of Hawaii
Ray Schmitt of the Woods Hole Oceanographic institute

March 29, 2013    View Comment    

On Canada’s Most Priceless Commodity Is Not Oil

I am equally troubled by this Dennis, considering we also have the solution - http://www3.telus.net/gwmitigationmethod/Background.htm - which we are also not acting on.
March 29, 2013    View Comment    

On Canada’s Most Priceless Commodity Is Not Oil

Yuri, does McGill survive 69 feet of sea level rise? That's were Jason Box, a glaciologist from Ohio State University, says we are headed. Letting Quebec and BC's water excesses simply run back into the ocean keeps us right on that course, whereas we could be replenishing the aquifers that have been drawn done to service the needs this water could also fill.

Regarding Fire Water, I graduated from the University of Calgary in 1966, I don't have much use for anything that comes out of these days.

March 29, 2013    View Comment    

On Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion a Silver Bullet for Climate Change?

Keep It Simple Stupid. But thanks anyway.

March 29, 2013    View Comment    

On Fossil Fuels Divestment Fever: Canadian Students, Doctors Launch New Campaign

John, I prefer to remain focused on energy production that actually mitigates the problem.

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion a Silver Bullet for Climate Change?
March 29, 2013    View Comment    

On Fossil Fuels Divestment Fever: Canadian Students, Doctors Launch New Campaign

John your fellow academic, Vaclav Smil, argued in Nature that “carbon sequestration is irresponsibly portrayed as an imminently useful option for solving the challenge [of global warming].” He pointed out that to sequester just 25% of the CO2 emitted by stationary sources (mostly coal plants), we would have to create a system whose annual volume of fluid would be slightly more than twice that of the world’s crude-oil industry.

March 29, 2013    View Comment    

On Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion a Silver Bullet for Climate Change?

Thanks Jessee, my proffered approach is the reverse of this. TIt uses a working fluid in a closed heat pipe system to circulated surface heat to the depths. You have the potential to produce as much as 25 terawatts of power this way.

March 28, 2013    View Comment