What is ocean thermocline (or OTEC) energy?
Thermocline energy is based on the temperature differences between surface water, which is heated by the sun, and deep water, which stays very cold. Thermal energy conversion plants use the surface water to make steam and then pass the steam through a turbine generator to make electricity.
Why use OTEC?
Unlike electrical generation from most other forms of renewable energy which varies with weather and time of day, such as solar and wind energy, OTEC power plants can produce electricity 24 hours per day, 365 days per year
This capability makes OTEC an attractive alternative to conventional base load power plants powered by fossil fuels or nuclear fission. Fresh water production is just one of the potential beneficial by-products of OTEC. The cold deep ocean water can be used for aqua-culture (fish farming) as it is pathogen free and nutrient rich, or air-conditioning and refrigeration in nearby buildings.