John Pina Craven, PhD in ocean engineering and former chief scientist for the US Navy's Special Projects Office, has a plan to harness the
"unlimited energy" found in the Earths' oceans. He (Craven) believes that the dramatic temperature difference between ocean water below 3,000 feet
and the much warmer water and air above it can be "exploited" to create an endless supply of energy.
"The potential of OTEC is great," says Joseph Huang, a senior scientist for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and an expert on the
process. "The oceans are the biggest solar collector on Earth, and there's enough energy in them to supply a thousand times the world's needs. If
you want to depend on nature, the oceans are the only energy source big enough to tap."
Stephen Oney, vice president of Ocean Engineering and Energy Systems in Honolulu, which will design CHC's Saipan pipes, agrees: "The technology is
there, and the science is there. It just needs to be improved." Oney, who recently inked a deal with the Pentagon to build an OTEC power plant for a
US naval base on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, envisions a day when floating OTEC platforms produce enough hydrogen to meet all of the
world's energy needs.
Craven likes the way they think, but he believes there are simpler, cheaper, and more immediate applications of cold-water technology. 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."
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Craven hopes that work will begin within a year on the island of Saipan, the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific
Ocean. Craven has allready been granted $75 million from venture capital firm Alpha Pacific and $1.5 million in federal funds. Currently two
projects are being developed to test the viability of Craven's ideas, a vineyard in Kona(a district along the western coast of the island of
Hawaii.) to grow table grapes for local restaurants, and a more complex, much larger-scale version on Saipan. Although "tapping" the oceans'
energy is not a new idea, Craven is definately at the forefront of research into making this theory into a reality. The implications to our current
"energy crisis" and our dependance on fossil fuels are promising, to say the least. Links(below) to more information on this and other theories on
harnessing the unlimited power of the Earth's oceans. What say you, ATSers? Do you see a future solution to the "energy crisis" here, or just
wishfull thinking not likely to be anything significant anytime soon?
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[edit on 8-6-2005 by Rren]
[edit on 8-6-2005 by Rren]