The development of a "net-power producing experiment" (NPPE) for OC-OTEC entered into an accelerated phase in January of this new year (1990). The conceptual design of the NPPE, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), was completed and the preliminary/final phase was initiated. A contract for the 210 KWe radial inflow turbine-generator was issued. The effort, co-funded by the State of Hawaii, will construct the facility at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELH) on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The proof concept NPPE has as its objective to "experimentally verify feasibility of OC-OTEC through validation of heat and mass transfer prediction and power generation techniques" while producing at least 40 KWe of "net" power with minimal risk of failure. The facility will also produce fresh water as a by-product.
Also underway, are plans to construct a closed cycle plant at the NELH. Current proposals call for a 160 KWe plant using aluminum roll bonded heat exchangers developed by ALCAN-GEC, a Canadian-British group. ALCAN-GEC are discussing entering into agreements with Hawaiian Energy Renewable Systems (HERS) and other Hawaiian companies to form an OTEC company based in Hawaii. The 160 KWe plant could be on line in early 1991.
A follow on to the 160 KWe plant would be a joint venture between the newly formed Hawaiian OTEC Company (HOC) mentioned above, and the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR) to design, construct and operate a 500 KWe plant. The plant would be located at the NELH also. Funding for the project, estimated by PICHTR, to be approximately $15 M, is being sought, in part, from the State of Hawaii, the HOC and other interested parties. As noted during the IOA meetings in Taipei in December 1989, this project could be of significant value to Taiwan's development plans for a 5 MWe plant. (Andrew R. Trenka, PICHTR, U.S.A.)