Sustainable ocean energy is a largely untapped resource that has the potential to provide a significant amount of clean energy to meet the world’s growing demands. Forms of energy such as OTEC, wave, and current can be extracted and used for floating communities, data centers, and even power lines back to land. Hydrogen can also be extracted for boats, cars, etc, and converted to methane for Starship. In this article, we will explore these forms of ocean energy and the ways they could benefit us.
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)
Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) harnesses the temperature difference between warm surface waters and cold deep waters to generate electricity. These systems typically consist of a heat exchanger, a turbine, and a generator. Warm surface waters are pumped through the heat exchanger, where they heat a working fluid such as ammonia or propane. The working fluid is then vaporized and used to power a turbine, which in turn drives a generator to produce electricity. The cold deep waters are then used to condense the vaporized working fluid back into a liquid state, completing the cycle.
OTEC is particularly well-suited for powering floating communities, as it can provide a constant and reliable source of energy. These systems can be integrated into the floating platforms and can provide power for lighting, heating, cooling, and other needs. This technology can also be integrated into existing coastal infrastructure and can provide backup power for critical facilities such as hospitals and emergency response centers.
Wave energy is generated by the movement of surface ocean waves. Waves are caused by the wind, which creates ripples on the surface of the ocean. Wave energy can be harnessed through the use of wave energy converters (WECs), which are devices that capture the energy of the waves and convert it into electricity. WECs can be designed to oscillate back and forth or up and down, depending on the type of wave and the design of the device.
There are several different types of WECs, including point absorbers, oscillating water columns, and attenuators. Point absorbers are buoy-like devices that are tethered to the ocean floor and move up and down with the waves. Oscillating water columns are large hollow chambers that capture the energy of the waves as they enter and exit the chamber. Attenuators are long, snake-like devices that move with the waves and generate electricity through the use of hydraulic pumps.
Wave energy has several advantages over other forms of renewable energy. It is a predictable and reliable source of energy, as the movement of the waves can be accurately forecasted. This form of energy is particularly well-suited for powering data centers, as the energy generated by waves can be used to power large-scale wave energy converters. These converters can then be used to generate electricity that is fed directly into the data center’s power grid.
Ocean current energy is a form of energy that is generated by the movement of currents below the surface. Ocean currents are large, moving bodies of water that circulate the world’s oceans, driven by a combination of temperature, salinity, and wind patterns. This energy can be harnessed through the use of underwater turbines. These turbines are typically anchored to the ocean floor and are designed to rotate as the ocean currents flow past them. The rotational energy of the turbines is then used to generate electricity. Underwater turbines can be installed in areas with strong and consistent ocean currents.
Current energy is a predictable and reliable source, as ocean currents are driven by long-term climate patterns. It is also a clean and renewable source of energy. Current energy is particularly well-suited for powering crypto mining operations, as it can provide a constant and reliable source of energy. Large-scale wave energy converters and underwater turbines can be used to generate the electricity needed to power the crypto-mining hardware.
Being one of the most abundant elements in the universe, Hydrogen is a promising fuel for a variety of applications, including transportation, power generation, and industrial processes. While most of the world’s hydrogen is currently produced from fossil fuels, there is growing interest in the sustainable extraction of hydrogen from ocean waters. The hydrogen in seawater is tightly bound to oxygen atoms, making it difficult to extract. The most common method for extracting hydrogen from seawater is through a process called electrolysis. An electric current is passed through the seawater, which breaks the water molecules apart into hydrogen and oxygen.
This process is complex and requires several specialized components. The most important is the electrolytic cell, which is the device that splits the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolytic cell typically consists of two electrodes, one positively charged and one negatively charged, immersed in the seawater. When an electric current is applied to the electrodes, the water molecules near the positively charged electrode lose their electrons and are converted into oxygen gas. The water molecules near the negatively charged electrode gain electrons and are converted into hydrogen gas.
Converting hydrogen into methane is known as methanation. In this process, hydrogen gas is combined with carbon dioxide to produce methane gas and water. Methane is a highly energy-dense fuel that is easier to store and transport than hydrogen. Methane is a preferred fuel for rocket engines, as it has a high energy density and is more stable than other fuels. Methane can be used as a fuel for rocket engines and has been tested in several space vehicles, including the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The world’s oceans cover more than 70% of the planet’s surface and contain an estimated 1.3 billion cubic kilometers of water. The potential supply of sustainable ocean energy is virtually unlimited. While other renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, are highly dependent on geography and weather patterns, the oceans are a global resource that can be accessed from almost anywhere in the world. Energy and hydrogen extraction from ocean waters could help to promote energy independence and security for countries around the world.
This Blog was put together in collaboration with ChatGPT