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Directory:Sea Solar Power

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&lt&lt A Congress:Top 100 Technologies -- RD Energy Technology &gt&gt

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Sea Solar Power Inc. is developing a solar power technology that does not fluctuate with the weather, but is available constantly.

Their solution is to harness the solar energy stored in the sea by tapping the thermal gradient that exists naturally between the surface and deep waters, using a reverse refrigeration cycle.


Official Website

Abell Foundation - foundation website that is supporting Sea Solar Power

Latest Developments

Nov. 21, 2006

Report by Congress:Founder:Sterling D. Allan

Yesterday I spoke with Robert Nicholson, President of Sea Solar Power

As far as he is concerned, there is just one viable renewable energy: OTEC, as done by his company. Everything else is useless and bunk. Very obnoxious that way.

According to Nicholson, they have a very good collection of scientists, businessmen, and lawyers.

They are not looking for money, or exposure. They are getting their money from the Abell Foundation.

They are not selling their devices, but the energy produced by the devices. Working on their first two contracts now. One with the Camen islands, one with Hawaii.

I had to push hard to get the cents/kw-hour question answered. He estimates 3.5 [which is not the best price among the various alternatives coming forward. Blue Energy, for example, estimates 2 cents / kw-h.].

Their business approach is to offer to sell electricity cheaper than what a municipality can presently get it for, and then lock them into a 20-year contract to buy electricity from Sea Solar Power.

I told him that I would not support that approach because I am confident that in ten years from now, the average price of energy will be half of what it is today. If someone is locked into a certain price, they will end up paying more than they would otherwise.

A very positive side benefit of the process is the production of copious amounts of potable water. Millions of gallons a day from a 10 MW plant, costing 50 million to build.

Another advantage of the process is that it produces energy 24-hours a day.

How it Works

The heat source is the 80° F surface water in the tropical oceans, while typically 3,000 feet below the surface is the heat sink or the cold bottom water, which is 40° F. This temperature difference is sufficient to operate vapor turbines, which drive generators and produces electricity and fresh water as a byproduct.

Known as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, or OTEC, the basic technology was invented in 1881 by a French scientist, Jacques Arsene D'Arsonval.

Image:OTEC closed power cycle 300.jpg

J. Hilbert Anderson, the First, had realized that standard off-the-shelf heat exchangers and turbo machinery from the power industry for this application would be inefficient. He set forth to design the major components anew. In his model, advanced turbines and heat exchangers optimized for the duty would be employed.

According to Jim Anderson and the company website, each plant would use multiple heat exchangers (evaporators and condensers), pumps, vapor turbines, compressors and generators. The system is charged with propylene, a refrigeration fluid. This refrigerant boils at low temperatures (67 degrees F) under a pressure of 150 psi.

The 80º F solar heated surface water is an ample heat source to cause the propylene to convert from a liquid to a gas or vapor. Warm water pumped through the boilers (heat exchangers) boils the propylene into a vapor, which expands through vapor turbines that drive the generators.

In order to complete the cycle, cold water (40 degrees F) is pumped up from the lower depths of the ocean. The cold water is used to condense the propylene vapor back into its liquid state and then it is pumped into the boiler to complete the cycle.

Electricity would be transmitted to shore from the plant-ship via underwater cable, or directly from the land-based plant to the grid.

Fresh Water Production

The company site also claims that in addition to electricity, large quantities of fresh water can be produced each day as part of the system.

Incoming warm water is de-oxygenated by means of a vacuum to prevent marine growth on the inside of the power plant. The water vapor can then be sent across cold heat exchanger surface area where it is condensed into fresh water.

This becomes a valuable by-product of the process. The system could also be designed with the exclusive purpose of producing fresh water.


SSP models predict that the cost of energy generation through this method will be within a price range comparable to nuclear, coal, natural gas, and other contemporary grid power plants.



Company Profile

Sea Solar Power, a Pennsylvania corporation is the developer and owner of the Sea Solar Power Technology.

SSP has been developing this concept since 1962, and is now in its second generation of leadership, with company President, James H. Anderson, Jr, is picking up where his father, J. Hilbert Anderson, who passed way last year, left off. Jim III is also involved in this company that has been hard at this all these years.

The Abell Foundation of Baltimore, "dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Baltimore and Maryland" (ref.), has licensed the technology from Sea Solar Power. The Abell Foundation created a wholly owned subsidiary, Sea Solar Power International, to promote and market the Sea Solar Power technology.

In the News

Sea Solar Power Inc. to Tap Sea Temperature Gradient - Those hot ocean waters have a more useful purpose than just generating hurricanes. A reverse refrigeration process generates electricity from the difference in temperature between surface and deep water. (PESN Jan. 4, 2006)

Slashdot - discussion of this story (Jan. 4, 2006)


See Talk:Directory:Sea Solar Power


Sea Solar Power, Inc.

250 North Main Street

Jacobus, PA 17407-1011

phone: (717) 428-3246

fax: (717) 428-2865

Robert J. Nicholson III

President, Sea Solar Power International

111 S. Calvert Street, Suite 2300

Baltimore, MD 21230

phone: (410) 547-1300

E-Mail: []

See also

Directory:Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)


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