Ten-Megawatt OTEC Power Plant is Green Energy

November 6, 2013 / No Comments

Lockheed Martin has joined forces with the Reignwood Group to build what will become the world’s largest capacity OTEC power generation plant. This is green technology at its best.  OTEC stands for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion and it uses the natural temperature differences in the ocean to generate electricity.

OTEC power plants have been built before, but never at this large scale. This 10-Megawatt power generation station has the capacity to power a small city. Below is a drawing of what such a power plant will look like.

OTEC Plant e1383718683615 Ten Megawatt OTEC Power Plant is Green Energy

OTEC Power Plant – illustration courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin has the expertise in designing OTEC systems.  In fact, they are the leader in this green energy sector, having 19 patents to their name. Under the partnership with the Reignwood Group, Lockheed Martin will provide the project management and systems engineering services in addition to the design. The Reignwood Group is a multi-national corporation based in Beijing, China that invests in green-based industries.

The OTEC power plant design uses a closed loop system that uses a liquid which boils at the temperature in the upper warm areas of the Ocean. The expanding gas drives a turbine which is couples to an electric generator. Cool water is pumped from the lower level of the ocean where it is used to condense the gas back into a liquid and then returned to the bottom of the ocean. A detailed diagram is shown below.

OTEC Process Ten Megawatt OTEC Power Plant is Green Energy

How OTEC works – diagram courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Since the sun heats the surface of the ocean, there is an unlimited supply of renewable heat as long as the sun still burns. The OTEC power plants will be located in ocean areas that are mapped in the warmer parts of the global waters. Looking at the chart below, you can see the oceanic areas that are well suited for these green power plants.

OTEC-Resource Map

Map of warm and hot ocean surface temperatures suitable for OTEC – courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Besides producing electricity, OTEC power plants can be configured to also produce hydrogen for fuel cells and hydrogen-powered vehicles. Add to this the ability to simultaneously produce pure water, and you get a great, environmentally-friendly renewal energy resource.


Photograph of part of OTEC Power Plant – courtesy of Lockheed Martin

In a press release, Senior VP and CTO for Lockheed Martin, Dr. Ray O Johnson said “This OTEC agreement and the establishment of a joint Innovative Technology Center between Reignwood Group and Lockheed Martin represents an important milestone that brings our advanced technologies to bear on the important global issues of climate change and renewable energy.”

We give a great shout-out and hat tip to Scott Lusk of Lockheed Martin for providing us with the pictures and drawings of the OTEC power plant. Watch the movie below for further information.