Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

Ocean thermal energy conversion makes use of the temperature differences between the deep cold and relatively warmer surface waters of the ocean to generate a constant, clean source of electricity. This constancy differs from the output of renewable resources such as wind and wave energy that sometimes produce intermittent electricity because of weather changes.

The development of OTEC technology has promise in tropical areas, where year-round temperature differences between the deep cold and warm surface waters are greater than 20 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). This energy technology also has the potential to generate potable water, hydrogen, and ammonia. Cold water from the OTEC process can be used to benefit commercial products such as air conditioning and aquaculture.

NOAA is responsible for the licensing of OTEC facilities. Demonstration projects do not need a NOAA license but must be designated a demonstration project by the U.S. Department of Energy.


Additional Information

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