Ocean thermal energy plants are thermal power plants that use warm ocean surface water as a source of heat and cold seawater from the deep ocean as a heat sink. A historical perspective along with the development of the technology will be presented. A short description describing the subtle differences between OTEC and fossil and nuclear plants will be presented. Open cycle OTEC and closed cycle OTEC will be described with a focus on the influence of choice of working fluid on the design of a plant. Various working fluids could be selected for use in closed cycle OTEC plants. A review and comparison of potential working fluids will address the advantages and disadvantages of the individual fluids. Their characteristics along with a comparison to water as a working fluid in open cycle OTEC will be explained.

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