BY Dr. T. K. D. Tennakoon Oceanography Division National Aquatic Resources Agency Fax + 941 522932
From an ocean resources point of view, Sri-Lanka is a rich country with its two hundred mile wide Exclusive Economic Zone that is 27 times larger than its land territory and its 1700 km long coastline. With the ocean as an energy source, both temperature differences in the water column (OTEC) can be utilized. Three sub-canyons are perfect sites for OTEC plants. These canyons, Panadura, Dondra and Trinconmalee, are capable of producing electricity by utilizing the water temperature differences.
Panadura is situated close to the capitol of Colombo and within 3 km from the coast reaches a depth of 1500 m where the temperature difference is 20ºC. Dondra canyon, located in the southern part of the island, is a valuable place for an OTEC plant because the necessary temperature difference is within 20km from the coast. The very steep canyon of Trincomalee is the most attractive and is called one of the most suitable sites for OTEC in the world. This canyon attains a depth of 1500 m only 1.5km from the coast Experiments done by the German R/V SONNE in 1994 and Sri-Lankan R/V Samudra Maru found that the temperature difference in Trincomalee canyon is around 21ºC. Due to lack of funds, the proposal has stagnated for a long period. The National Aquatic Resources Agency is waiting for suitable agencies to fund the project.