The GreenOcean Project - Sustainable energy, food and water for the 21st century
The GreenOcean Project founder and editor of OTECnews
In modern energy terms OTEC is, as you probably know, a fairly old concept. The idea was first mentioned in 1881 by Jacques Arsene d'Arsonval and one of his students built an experimental open-cycle OTEC system at Matanzas Bay, Cuba, in 1930. However, when you talk to people today involved with (or interested in) renewable energy, hardly anyone knows anything about OTEC and its potential. That OTEC resides in obscurity is not a new insight. Several references to this have been made in recent IOA Newsletters, which was one of the inspirations for OTECnews and its parent organisation, The GreenOcean Project.
We believe that a more holistic view of the requirements of power production is gradually emerging in the general media and thereby the public awareness. The head of the European Union's Competition Commission, Mario Monti, has just confirmed that the UK Government's ¢G650 million (US$975 million) bail-out of nuclear power firm British Energy is unlawful. The Observer, a British Sunday newspaper, reported on 3 November 2002, that this bail out would keep British Energy afloat for two months, but equally could build enough onshore wind energy power generators to power 15 percent of the country. Scientific American's October 2002 cover story was about hydrogen-powered cars for the near future. No longer is global warming talked about as a hypothetical "possible future" in the media. Flood devastation in central Europe this summer put our impact on the environment firmly on the day-to-day agenda in most European governments. Our audience, the media - and in extension - the general public, is ready to listen.
OTECnews -The news source for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)
OTECnews was started in October 2001 with the goal of regularly publishing information about the latest development around OTEC and related subjects, such as environmental impact, mariculture, ocean engineering, global climate change, energy policy, alternative energy and global fresh water supply. The intent is to report not only on OTEC development, but also on the context of the development of an OTEC power infrastructure. As a distinctive feature of OTEC energy systems, the end products include not only energy in the form of electricity, but potentially also fresh water and food. This means that to successfully implement OTEC power in the next decade, one needs to understand the commercial, environmental and energy-political environment in which OTEC power plants will be built. High awareness about OTEC among politicians, government administrators, media pundits and industry experts is a key goal to get OTEC power plants built. We believe that OTEC power generation has nowhere near the profile in the media that it needs to have: the OTECnews site is the first in a number of steps we are planning to take to help rectify that.
The GreenOcean Project
We felt that an inclusive approach would be the appropriate way forward to educate and raise awareness about OTEC and other synergistic technologies. Therefore we have organised ourselves around the concept of sustainable energy, food and water production linked to our oceans. So we started The GreenOcean Project, a non-profit organization, as the parent organisation for our efforts. The GreenOcean Project currently has three active projects: OTECnews, which is described above, the OTEC Library and a multi-part TV documentary series called "The GreenOcean"
In our efforts to understand OTEC and its history we found that it was quite difficult as non-academics to get access to papers and other information about OTEC. There was no central resource and little information was available online. As part of our information gathering we decided to create an online OTEC information library - called the OTEC Library- to promote easier OTEC research for others as well as for ourselves. This project is very much in its infancy at the moment, but Phil Kopitske helped us enormously by giving us access to his research papers, collected for over a decade. As OTEC is a relatively obscure subject, we would encourage everyone who has access to papers, articles and books about OTEC (including what you yourself have written) to contact us so that we can either collect and make available these materials on our web site, or jointly work together on this project. The beginnings of the OTEC Library can be found at: http://www.OTECnews.org/oteclibrary.html
The GreenOcean -TV documentary series
To our knowledge there has been no TV documentary made about OTEC for the last ten years. There was a BBC documentary over decade ago, but there has been nothing about the recent exiting developments in the OTEC world. After talking to friends and colleagues in television and media it was clear that a TV documentary series would be viewed with considerable more favour among broadcasters than a single programme about an obscure subject. In spring this year we set out to make a multi-part TV documentary on new ways of utilising ocean resources for sustainable energy, food and fresh water production, with the minimum of impact on the environment. The pilot episode about the Seawater Greenhouse is soon to enter the editing phase of production and will be ready in early 2003. The Seawater Greenhouse uses cold sea water and sunlight to allow fruit and vegetables to be grown in otherwise arid regions, whilst functioning as a solar distillery to produce all the fresh water needed for irrigation. The next episode, which we hope to start working on during the spring of 2003, is planned to cover OTEC efforts and progress around the world.
To find out more about us and our efforts
please visit us at: http://www.OTECnews.org/