April 18, 2012

Ocean Thermal Energy - APPSC Group 1 Mains - Paper 4

Ocean Thermal Energy

The main objective of ocean thermal energy or Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is to turn the solar energy trapped by the ocean into  usable energy. OTEC systems use the ocean's natural thermal gradient"the fact that the ocean's layers of water have different temperatures to drive a power-producing cycle. As long as the temperature between the warm surface water and the cold deep water differs by about 20°C (36°F), an OTEC system can produce a significant amount of power.


OTEC has a potential installed capacity of 180,000 MW in India.
Current OTEC Projects in India

StatusLocationInstalled Capacity
Prototype "Sagar Shakthi"
35km off Tiruchendur coast
1 MW


  • OTEC-produced electricity at present would cost more than electricity generated from fossil fuels at their current costs.
  • OTEC plants must be located where a difference of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit occurs year round.
  • Ocean depths must be available fairly close to shore-based facilities for economic operation.
  • Construction of OTEC plants and laying pipes in coastal waters may cause localized damage to reefs and near-shore marine ecosystems


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