US defense contractor Lockheed Martin yesterday announced plans to build a green energy power plant that will use variations in ocean water temperature to generate electricity, taking a big step toward making the 130-year-old concept commercially viable.
Lockheed signed an agreement on Saturday in Beijing with the privately held Reignwood Group to build the 10-megawatt offshore plant that will provide energy for a new luxury resort on Hainan Island in south China. It will use what is known as ocean thermal energy conversion technology, or OTEC.
"This plant will be the largest OTEC facility ever built. We believe this to be the first signed agreement for an offshore OTEC plant of a size significant enough to power a community," said Dan Heller, vice president of new ventures for Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training.
A 10MW plant, able to power several thousand homes, would be a major advance in the use of OTEC. Experts say it would be a stepping stone toward building 100MW plants capable of powering small cities.
Best known for making jet fighters and missiles, Lockheed has long been involved other areas beyond armaments. Last month, it said it had found a way to slash the amount of energy needed to remove salt from seawater.
"Lockheed Martin has been leading the way in advancing this (OTEC) technology for decades," Heller said.
SOURCE: Shanghai Daily
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