Generating energy from ocean waters. According to Hawaiian researchers the Leeward side of Hawaii may be ideal for future ocean-based renewable energy plants, that would use seawater from the oceans’ depths to drive massive heat engines and produce steady amounts of renewable energy.
The technology involves placing a heat engine between warm water collected at the ocean’s surface and cold water pumped from the deep ocean. Like a ball rolling downhill heat flows from the warm reservoir to the cool. The greater the temperature difference, the stronger the flow of heat that can be used to do useful work such as spinning a turbine and generating electricity.
The technology of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) dates back more than a half century. However, it has never taken off, largely because of the relatively low cost of oil and other fossil fuels. But if there are any places on Earth where large OTEC facilities would be cost competitive, it is where the ocean temperature differentials are the greatest.