Makai Ocean Engineering received a $3.6 million contract from the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and the Office of Naval Research for research and design on the marine renewable energy known as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). Makai will perform this work at their Ocean Energy Research Centre, located in Kona, Hawaii, the largest OTEC research facility in the world.
“If we can use one percent of the energy [generated by OTEC] for electricity and other things, the potential is so big,” said Joseph Huang, a senior scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “ It is more than 100 to 1,000 times more than the current consumption of worldwide energy. The potential is huge. There is not any other renewable energy that can compare with OTEC.”
Makai will work on two initiatives to serve the ultimate goal of making commercial OTEC a reality: designing, manufacturing and testing an improved heat exchanger for OTEC, and connecting power from its OTEC plant to the electric grid on the Island of Hawaii.