by Martin G. Brown, Member, IOA, Editoral Satff
Perhaps the answer to Tar-Zen Su question in the last IOA Newsletter as to whether or not OTEC is being forgotten is that the concept has never been well know enough to be forgotten ! Whenever renewable energy is discussed in Europe OTEC is almost never mentioned. If OTEC is considered it is viewed as something radical which is still very much in its infancy and is unlikely to be of help for decades to come. Even in the U.S. the major OTEC research programme of the late 70 and early 80 is now almost 20 years and is probably only well remembered in the minds of those directly involved.
Despite this existing worldwide lack of OTEC knowledge the potential for the technology at the beginning of the twenty first century is better today than it has ever been before. The price of oil is stabilising above $25 per barrel, the dangers of global warming are now accepted and deepwater oil and gas floating production technology is now a reality.
Hence a major task facing present day OTEC/DOWA researchers is to publicise the potential of the technology. This means TV documentaries, magazine articles, public lectures and interesting Internet sites, etc. Once the technology is better known it will be easier to get research/demonstration funding. This in turn will help to lead to commercial feasibility.
At the present time Taiwan with her large foreign currency reserves, technological expertise, accessible warm and cold sea-water and a need for more power is an ideal country to push forward the technology. Hence it is hoped that OTEC enthusiasts in Taiwan and through out the world will do their utmost to publicise OTEC/DOWA to a wider audience. The more people who know about the benefits of the technology the more likely it are to happen. Hopefully the IOA will continue to be a force to promote OTEC in Taiwan and through outs the world. This will only happen if everybody in the OTEC community actively supports the IOA while at the same time promoting the potential of the technology in their own countries. Now is the time to rekindle the vision of Georges Claude and push OTEC/DOWA forward to commercial success.