The Sea Solar Power Plant

Approximately 70% of the earth is covered by water. In equatorial regions oceans cover nearly 90% of this surface segment of the earth. These oceans collect and store solar energy. Because water arranges itself by temperature and density, the warmest water, being the lightest, is on the surface. Cold heavier water lies deep below.

A stationary floating plant skims off a small percentage of the surface layer to use as the heat source. For the heat sink, the plant has a large diameter submerged pipe to pump up the heavier frigid water below.

A small amount of heat is extracted from the warm water and a lesser amount is put into the cold water. The net difference in energy flow is turned into electricity and fresh water and/or fuels and other useful products. Electricity is transmitted to shore through an underwater cable.

A sea solar power electric plant can be described as having 10 major elements. They are (1) boiler; (2) condenser; (3)vapor turbin generator; (4) working fluid; (5) working fluid pump; (6) warm water pump; (7) cold water pump; (8) cold water pipe; (9) electric cable to shore; (10) integrated floating structure.

The warm surface ocean water is pumped to the boiler, which transfers heat to the working fluid, turning it into a high-pressure vapor. The turbine generator spins as the vapor rushes through it to reach the low-pressure condenser, which is cooled by the nearly freezing water brought up from the ocean depths. After condensing, the working fluid is sent back to the boiler to be reused and to repeat the cycle.

Pumps are needed to bring the cold water up from the deep and through the condenser. Other pumps move the warm water through the boiler. The power for moving these very large water flows, plus the power to move the working fluid from the condenser to the boiler, consumes about 20% of the total power generated (120MW Gross for 100MW Net).

25 mw Electrical Plant