Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

Curacao OTEC Ecopark

Bluerise, a Dutch company founded in 2010, is currently in the process of developing the 20-hectare Curaçao Ocean Ecopark at the premises of Curaçao Airport near Willemstad. The project consists of a seawater cooling system to provide the buildings in the Airport City with cheap and sustainable air conditioning, an OTEC power plant for electricity supply and a 20 hectare Ocean Ecopark, clustering emerging sustainable technologies around the use of the deep seawater.

Their Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) technology taps deep into the cold water a kilometer below the ocean surface. Warm surface water evaporates to power the turbines and the deepwater condenses the vapor, creating a cycle that generates electricity. The major advantage of OTEC over renewable energy sources like solar and wind is that the ocean’s thermal gradient is stable, meaning that Bluerise can provide a base load source of electricity for isolated communities, like islands, that can’t afford a sudden drop in power. The other services that Bluerise provides are equally invaluable to equatorial regions. Small islands can use their technology to distill seawater using little energy, instead of resorting to reverse osmosis and other traditional, energy-intensive methods. They can pump the cold deepwater through crop-beds to condense water into the beds, allowing farmers to grow temperate crops in tropical regions. They can use the deepwater to cool down water in air conditioning units and take advantage of the ocean’s enormous potential as a heat sink, reducing the energy necessary for air conditioning by up to ninety percent.

When the Eco Park is complete it will produce 500 kilowatts of electricity for the Curaçao International Airport and will house cold-water greenhouses, a desalination plant, and an aquacultural operation fed by deepwater. They plan to expand throughout the Caribbean so other island nations can access one of their greatest underutilized resources. By exploring the fantastic power of one of the Earth’s most undervalued energy resources, Bluerise has the potential to bring a new, sustainable future to Curaçao and beyond.

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