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RESOURCE: Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) - GRADE 7-12

The cost of electricity in Hawaii is the highest in the country, more than double the national average. Our high energy price presents a significant burden to local families and local businesses - especially the manufacturing and IT-related industries.


But did you know that by tapping the temperature differential between surface and deep ocean waters in the tropics, unlimited, fuel-less, baseload power that can produce desalinated freshwater is available. This technology is known as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC).


The United States became involved in OTEC research in 1974 with the establishment of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority. This laboratory is one of the world's leading test facilities for OTEC technology. The laboratory operated a 250 kilowatt (kW) demonstration OTEC plant for six years in the 1990s. The United States Navy later supported the development of a 105 kW demonstration OTEC plant at the laboratory site. This facility became operational in 2015 and supplies electricity to the local electricity grid - see Makai OTEC link below.


EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

OTEC Introductory Video: LINK

Makai OTEC at the Ocean Energy Research Center in Kailua-Kona: LINK


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