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Craven hopes that within a year, bulldozers will begin clearing land on Saipan and engineers will start sinking a pipe to pump icy water from the ocean depths to produce electricity and freshwater. And back in Kona, Craven expects to use cold-water agriculture to transform five acres of otherwise barren lava fields into the world's most productive vineyard. "The economics are absurd," he boasts. "Once we prove the technology on Saipan, imagine what it could do for places like Haiti!"
Craven's system exploits the dramatic temperature difference between ocean water below 3,000 feet - perpetually just above freezing - and the much warmer water and air above it. That temperature gap can be harnessed to create a nearly unlimited supply of energy. Although the scientific concepts behind cold-water energy have been around for decades, Craven made them real when he founded the state-funded Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii in 1974 on Keahole Point, near Kona. Under Craven, the lab developed the process of using cold deep-ocean water and hot surface water to produce electricity. By the 1980s the Natural Energy Lab's demonstration plant was generating net power, the world's first through so-called ocean thermal energy conversion.
He favors building systems in ideal locations, such as islands adjacent to deep water with no continental shelf. Sink a big pipe, crank a pump, and - voilà! - you've entered a world powered by ocean water. Once primed, the pipe acts like a giant siphon, requiring relatively little energy to keep an inexhaustible supply of cold at hand. Already, 39-degree-Fahrenheit water courses through the Natural Energy Lab's newest pipe - a 55-inch-diameter, 9,000-foot-long polyethylene behemoth - at the rate of 27,000 gallons a minute, 24 hours a day.
Running the frigid pipes through heat exchangers produces unlimited air-conditioning that costs almost nothing. Draining their sweat yields an endless supply of freshwater for drinking and irrigation. The cold water also creates a temperature difference between root and fruit that Craven believes speeds growth. And by turning the flow on and off, Craven has found he can further accelerate the plants' growth cycle by forcing them in and out of dormancy - he can get three crops of grapes a year and pineapples in eight months instead of the usual 18. Feeding some of the water through a contraption Craven calls a hurricane tower generates clean electricity. "What the world doesn't understand," says Craven, still zigzagging through the parking lot, "is that what we don't have enough of is cold, not heat."
my guess its though thermaltic petters or TEC's they work by having 2 diff kinds of metal and when heat is transfered across them they produce electricty if you put electcity though them they cool one side and heat the other. So my guess is all there radatiors have a TEC layer between them and the out side heat sinks you get a big enough area of TEC's and you could produce masive amounts of power...... a small 3 inch 1/8 thick tec produces 12 volts at about 30 amps dc so lets say you have 30x30 foot tec having 100 of them would make 675000 amps at 12 volts. or 56 kilo watts constant flow. and the tec's them selfs all stacked together would only be 12.5 inches thick..... also the higher the tempture diff the more power they produce.
Originally posted by Kidfinger
Interesting article Sardion. I read all three pages, but I could not find any details on power production. Is the generated power enough to measure in Kw? How much energy is expended per volt produced? The fresh water from condensation is a good source of fresh water, but to have any kind of large amount, you would need a huge surface area to collect from. Maybe a giant sail filled with cappillaries of this cold water would be better suatible for the condensation collecting.
Though my questions seem critical, this is a very facinating concept. I just wish the article went into more detail on power production instead of what it was used for.