Jacques D’Arsonval introduced the idea of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion in towards the end of the 19th century. However, the idea has yet to catch on, primarily because of the cost factor. The benefit of thermal energy from the ocean I that it burns cleanly and does not pollute the air. However, if combined with existing technologies, OTEC power plants could have negative impact on the local surroundings. OTEC systems are of three types: Open Cycle, Closed Cycle, and Hybrid. Here’s a look at these three types:
A Closed Cycle system has a low-boiling point liquid that is boiled by pumping ocean water. Vapor from the liquid pushes the turbine to generate electricity. An Open Cycle system does not have an intermediate fluid. In this system, the sea water drives the turbine. There are no hybrid models in operation to our knowledge.