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American Energy Policy V -- Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

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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.

Also, the use of Solid State Ammonia Synthesis ( SSAS, Holbrook , will reduce the energy required to produce ammonia from roughly 12000 to 7000 kWh of electricity per MT of NH3 product. The use of Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) would be cheaper and more efficient than evaporation for production of drinking and process water. The addition of a fourth energy product, pharmaceutical and/or industrial grade oxygen, may greatly enhance system economics. If pure oxygen is used to burn or oxidize toxic and solid wastes from our cities, the effluent gasses are much easier to clean up and isolate. Further, if the oxygen is used in flash smelting or oxidation of sulfurous compounds, the resulting efficiency for the recovery of copper, platinum series elements, rare earth elements, and radioactive ores can be greatly enhanced. We found this to be the case in copper smelting in the '80's. The notion that OTEC could be used to clean up the waste dumps of the world would attract much more interest from multinational corporations and governments.

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It would be good for us to lead again, like we did... by Paul from Potomac on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 at 8:17:01 AM
The polluter pays principle requires that the part... by Jim Baird on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 at 12:38:06 PM
Jim,Brilliant idea to bring on the insurance compa... by Paul from Potomac on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 at 1:08:33 PM
Paul there is no doubt lives should be the primary... by Jim Baird on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 at 1:49:40 PM
So please don't think i troll your articles ;) I a... by steve windisch on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 at 1:30:16 PM
Steve,Passive solar, conservation practices and so... by Paul from Potomac on Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010 at 2:27:50 PM