Climate mitigating energy production

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Considering all of the environmental wins that can be derived from the production of ocean thermal energy using the heat pipe design, there is is only rational reason for not proceeding to do so and that would be cost.

 

As it happens, this design is demonstrably the most inexpensive way to produce renewable energy.

 

The table at right is from a MIT masters thesis by Shylesh Muralidharan. It shows OTEC has highest capacity of all sources and one of the best levelized capital costs.

 

Although not shown in the table, Muralidharan points to a study that shows the deep water condenser architecture for OTECbrings down the installed capital cost of a 100 MW plant ship from 4000 $/kw to 2650 $/kw.

 

He also explains how the doubling of OTEC plant size leads to a cost/kW reduction of approximately 22%.

 

Using CO2 as the working fluid allows for OTEC plants of gigawatt capacity or more, so extrapolating from the study's data a 1 GW plant of the deep water condenser design would cost $86*2650/4000*78/100*(1-(.22*(200/800))) or 42 $/MWh for the lowest levelized capital cost of all energy sources but for combined cycle natural gas.

 

By a considerable margin it would be the cheapest of the renewable energies and therefore what a rapidly warming planet is crying out for.

 

There is and will be for centuries to come a global need for the lowest cost carbon-free energy that limits climate change.