One of the major problems with traditional OTEC is the offshore platform requirement. 50 % of quoted costs tend to be the cost of the platform.
There is also the problem of pumping up onto a platform and the parasitic energy consumption of the system.
With no expensive mooring and associated structure, and no lifting of water in air, the costs of offshore OTEC can halve or more.
The risks of damage are also far less, and this can easily be shown with wave circle velocity vs depth calculations.
Below the surface wave forces diminish rapidly, therefore with every additional meter below the surface that a platform is situated, the anchoring costs can drop.
The risk of damage from storms can be lower than an onshore or floating site because the forces involved are far smaller; we found that at just 30 meters depth, the platform is likely to be safe even when there are 10-meter-high swells above it.
These platforms are therefore suitable for the World’s Oceans and therefore can be expected to be able to provide continental quantities of electricity.
The modular concept should help to reduce how opaque a system like this is to investors because it can be scaled up or down in size with ease. Without the complications of mooring a surface platform the structure can be readily anticipated to be safe from storms and damage.
Beneath the water, there is no limit in size, each platform may readily reach the size of a land-based power station.
The number of technical steps required to reach a proven system is few and the cost of each demonstration can be low.
The power unit and heat exchanger can be as big or as small as is desired just in the same way that the single offshore units can be.
Future embodiments of this kind of platform can be designed such that they can be efficient at moving on the water surface as well as lie safely beneath it.
Platforms can move to site and then sink beneath the waves to a suitable depth.
All this may be possible with remote control.
Additional waste heat or renewable heat can mean that a plant could produce 8 times or more power than with seawater alone.
These hybrid platforms can work outside of the tropics including in Europe and the mainland USA.
UK patent rights can extend to many countries overseas where OTEC is possible.
The platform is also protected by a further US patent and UK patent.