Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) technologies based on floating platforms generate electrical energy by utilizing the temperature difference between the deep ocean water and the surface water. One typical offshore floating OTEC system uses the temperature difference to drive a heat engine, utilizing a closed-loop Rankine cycle with a working fluid such as ammonia (NH3). Cold water is pumped through a large flexible pipe from approximately 1000m depth to heat exchangers which condense the ammonia vapor. Warm water from the surface is pumped through heat exchangers to evaporate the liquid ammonia to drive the turbine.

An OTEC floating platform could be a semisubmersible, a spar, or other typical offshore hull form with a taut or a catenary mooring system. As opposed to oil and gas production platforms, the OTEC system consists of a large diameter cold water pipe (CWP) which will participate in the global performance of the floating platform. Its unique behavior also includes the contribution of CWP entrained water which behaves differently in lateral and vertical directions due to its open bottom design. The hydrodynamic behavior of the large scale cold water pipe is an important consideration in the system design and analysis. The study presented in this work includes the application of a fully coupled analysis program with an accurate cold water pipe dynamic model in OTEC floating system analysis. The study could be useful for future guidance and reference on OTEC floating platform designs.

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