Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center

Staff & Lessons Learned

Our staff is versed in wave energy resource measurement and evaluation; system design; wave-tank testing and evaluation; wave-structure interactions; and, ocean mooring.  In addition, members of our staff authored primary OTEC references and formed part of the core team that designed, constructed and operated (1993-1998) the experimental open cycle OTEC Plant for the production of electricity and desalinated water – referred to as one of the most successful renewable energy projects in the world. 

We have learned that, to achieve success, all aspects of a project must be considered, from inception to decommissioning.  In particular, we must address the environmental, financial and human infrastructure aspects of every project, including both professionals as well as the general public.  We are guided by the following lessons learned through our cumulative practical experience:

  • Embellishment leads to negative consequences creating credibility barriers for others and unrealistic expectations from the public;
  • It should be self evident that the ocean is a dynamic environment but the literature abounds with marine energy concepts that could not survive all seasons;
  • All components must be considered in technical and economic assessments.  Wave Energy Conversion (WEC) and OTEC devices consist of several components or subsystems that must be integrated into a system. For example, OTEC is not just a power block (heat exchangers and turbines). OTEC also includes seawater subsystems (pipes and pumps); positioning (deep ocean mooring and/or thrusters); and, submarine power cable to transmit electricity to land;
  • The entire life cycle must be incorporated into the design process. For example, locating a component below sea level might yield higher efficiencies but result in elaborate maintenance requirements and higher operational costs;
  • A pertinent question that must be asked is:  Can equipment be manufactured using commercially available practices and in existing factories?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *