Exploitation of the oceans thermal energy has been proposed several times in the past. Most research activity is focused on the temperature difference between the upper (warm) and bottom (cold) layers of water and that is what drives the power producing cycle. Consequently this kind of technology offers great possibilities in the tropical regions where the temperature difference is ranging from 10 °C to 25 °C. In enclosed seas like the Mediterranean, the available temperature differences are much smaller. Here however there exists a different potential, i.e. the temperature difference between the atmosphere and the sea water. This implies that there are two enormous reservoirs providing the heat source and the heat sink required for a heat engine. This study examines the merits of the temperature difference between the atmospheric air and the bottom of the sea, which is comparable to that of the tropical region sea waters and discusses the optimal plant configuration for the limit of the nearly ideal processes of such a plant.
Optimal Plant Configuration for the Nearly Ideal Processes of an OTEC Concept Driven by the Sea–Air Temperature Difference
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Georgiou, DP, Milidonis, KF, & Theodoropoulos, NG. "Optimal Plant Configuration for the Nearly Ideal Processes of an OTEC Concept Driven by the Sea–Air Temperature Difference." Proceedings of the ASME 2012 11th Biennial Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis. Volume 2: Applied Fluid Mechanics; Electromechanical Systems and Mechatronics; Advanced Energy Systems; Thermal Engineering; Human Factors and Cognitive Engineering. Nantes, France. July 2–4, 2012. pp. 525-533. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ESDA2012-82618
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