Operational Experience of the OC-OTEC Experiments at NELH

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    The Solar Energy Research Institute, under funding and program direction from the U.S. Department of Energy, has been operating a small-scale test apparatus to investigate key components of open-cycle ocean thermal energy conversion (OC-OTEC). The apparatus started operations in October 1987 and continues to provide valuable information on heat- and mass-transfer processes in evaporators andcondensers, gas sorption processes as seawater is depressurized and repressurized, and control and instrumentation characteristics of opencycle systems. Although other test facilities have been used to study some of these interactions, this is the largest apparatus of its kind to use seawater since Georges Claude's efforts in 1926. The information obtained from experiments conducted in thisapparatus is being used to design a larger scale experiment in which a positive net power production is expected to be demonstrated for the first time with OC-OTEC. This paper describes the apparatus, the major tests conducted during its first 18 months of operation, and the experience gained in OC-OTEC system operation.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages11
    StatePublished - 1989

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-253-3480


    • Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii
    • ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC)
    • open cycle
    • water power


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