Open-Cycle Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) Research: Progress Summary and a Design Study

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    In 1980, the Westinghouse Corporation completed an extensive Claude open-cycle ocean thermal energy conversion (OC-OTEC) system design study. Since that time, the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) has produced concepts and data bases that have reduced the technical uncertainties associated with the evaporator and condenser design and performance, seawater sorption kinetics and gas removalsystems, low pressure turbine design with novel materials, and low cost system containment and structural design. This paper describes an integrated system design case study using the improved data base and summarizes an assessment of the relative thermodynamic performance of advanced technologies, drawing parallels with Claude's early work in the 1930s. Projections from these latest advancesimply that OC-OTEC systems can be cost effective in sizes less than 10 MWe. Analyzing the research needs for OC-OTEC systems reveals that an experimental facility integrating all essential components of a system is required. This paper describes a facility for conducting advanced research and verifying cycle feasibility in terms of performance, reliability, and cost. The thermodynamicperformance of this integrated design is projected using an analytical system model incorporating the highly coupled component interactions.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages14
    StatePublished - 1984

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-252-2331


    • ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC)
    • OTEC


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