As China plans a net-zero energy resort, it's turning to Lockheed Martin for power.The defense company is developing an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) system off the coast of southern China to provide 100 percent of the power needed for a green resort to be built by Reignwood Group. The plant is expected to be the world's largest OTEC plant and will generate 10 megawatts of electricity.
The offshore plant takes advantage of the temperature difference of the cool water found deep in the ocean and warm water at the surface to produce electricity. The warm water is used to boil liquid and create steam, which turns a turbine and generates electricity, while the cold water condenses the steam back to liquid form. Since heat engines run most efficiently when there are large temperature variations, OTEC plants are especially suited for island and coastal communities in tropical waters. Furthermore, unlike other forms of renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, OTEC plants produce energy 24 hours a day year round.
Lockheed Martin and Reignwood will design the OTEC prototype and begin construction next year. Once they have a model ready, their plan is to iteritate and scale, with the hopes of developing 100-megawatt OTEC facilities that could cut carbon emissions by half a million tons. With the ability to generate as much energy as 1.3 million barrels of oil, the estimated fuel savings could surpass $130 million, according to Lockheed Martin.
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