Rising Energy from the Deep with OTEC and SWAC Technology
Climate-KIC start-up Bluerise is harnessing the ocean’s power by bringing performance benefits to the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) sector.
Introducing a unique and more efficient working fluid to closed cycle OTEC systems, resulting in major performance benefits and a significant boost in cost-effectiveness of OTEC energy production technologies.
The oceans offer a tremendous source of renewable energy, with warm surface waters and cold deep waters. The temperature difference between the water is harnessed and used to create a base load electricity generation system. This system uses heat engines to generate electricity from the, often small, temperature differential.
There are various ways to achieve this, but in general we depict either open- or closed-cycle systems. The main difference being the use of a different working fluid then the seawater itself in a closed-cycle system. The working fluid has a low boiling-point, allowing the small temperature differential to cause evaporation of the working fluid.
The expanding gasses power a generator which produces electricity. In open-cycle systems the warm surface water itself is used as a working fluid and is pumped into a vacuum chamber which evaporates the water and powers the turbine. In this way both systems can be used to generate a constant stream of electricity, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Location, Location, Location
Being located near the equator and right at the shore with access to the deep ocean in close proximity. Bluerise is teaming up with Curacao’s international Airport to utilise this tremendous source of energy. Together the ‘Ocean Ecopark’ is to be developed which will encompass a number of applications based around the OTEC system provided by Bluerise.
A useful by-product of OTEC is cold-water which can be used in a Seawater District Cooling system (SDC/SWAC) which cools the airport building and surroundings resulting in energy savings of up to 90%. Furthermore the water from the deep is rich in nutrients and almost free of pathogens making it ideal for use in various aqua- and agricultural applications such as fish farms and ‘seawater greenhouses’.
Although Curaçao has a large share of its energy coming from natural sources such as wind (~30MW) and sun (~5MW), the majority is still supplied by fossil fuel sources being primarily oil. Due to their scale, most of these islands and communities rely on import of oil, which is one of the most expensive and polluting methods of energy generation.
Conventional renewable energy sources can cover at best a fraction of the total electricity demand, due to the fluctuating energy supply coming from these sustainable resources. This generally results in less than 20% of the total load being generated from these climate-friendly energy sources.
The Path of Ging Blue
Because of the stable temperatures of the water in the tropics, with small daily and seasonal changes, SDC and OTEC form base load sources, requiring no backup to cope with fluctuations. Bluerise has developed and will initially include a 500kW OTEC plant in the first stage of the Ocean Ecopark development.
This will be one of the World’s first commercial OTEC facilities, opening up opportunities for Bluerise to scale up and commercialize OTEC power plants worldwide. With the Curacao facility providing the proof-of-concept customers often need, Bluerise can empower tropical islands to start the path towards 100% energy independence at fixed competitive pricing.
Being incorporated in 2010, this start-up company -founded by the two entrepreneurs Remi Blokker (CEO) and Berend Jan Kleute (CTO) of the Dutch TU Delft – has come a long way since. It all started with the idea of applying state-of‐the-art technology to the OTEC sector so that Ocean Thermal Energy can become a substantial part of the future sustainable energy mix.
Now, four years later and having successfully completed the Climate-KIC’s Accelerator, Bluerise has entered international waters. With access to Climate-KIC’s network of international partners Bluerise is expanding rapidly.
Bluerise is one of the first start-up companies to be rewarded the Climate-KIC SME voucher, designed as a ‘knowledge transfer’ voucher; granting access to receive support from one of Climate-KIC’s entrepreneurship partners.
Bluerise handed in their SME voucher at Deltares with whom they developed an online assessment tool for the technical and economical assessment of OTEC locations world-wide.
Moving Towards a Blue Climate
The resource potential for Bluerise’s OTEC in combination with SDC technology is considered to be the largest within ocean energy technologies. Estimates are that OTEC has the potential to ‘unlock’ 7-30 Terawatts of energy which is stored beneath the sea.
This potential and the possibility of providing additional thermal energy services in coastal areas (such as cooling, water and/or food production) provide the possibility for significant reduction of greenhouse‐gas emissions. Furthermore OTEC can help build resilience for (sub) tropical coastal regions in response to climate change.
The 500kW pilot plant, planned for Curaçao, can be expected to provide reduction of approx. 2.500 tons of CO2/year and in combination with the SWAC system a reduction of over 16.000 tons of CO2/year is expected with implementation of the Curacao Ocean Ecopark alone.
Bluerise’s market potential is directly linked to the limitations of the OTEC technology. At first tropical islands between approximately 20° north and 20° south of the equator are targeted by the Bluerise team. These islands have access to the OTEC resource, being the cold deep seawater and the warm surface together with large domestic and/or industrial city areas near the coast.
Ultimately, the market targeted by Bluerise is the complete tropical region, home to over three billion people, most of them living near the shore and with a much increasing demand for energy. The targeted customers of Bluerise comprises of private developers/operators of large infrastructure (e.g. hotel, resorts, housing developments, hospitals, etc.), governments and/or utility companies.
Blue is the Future
With the start of construction getting closer every day, the future of Bluerise is looking ‘blue’. With the 500KW OTEC pilot plant constructed and accompanied by the Seawater District Cooling system, it will only take time before this start-up in ocean technology supports the move towards a more sustainable future.
For more information, please visit the Bluerise website or send an .
Contact: Remi Blokker
Location: Delft, the Netherlands
Address: Molengraaffsingel 12, 2629 JD
Founding Year: 2012
Team Members: Berend Jan Kleute (COO), Diego Acevedo (VP Business Development), Paul Dinnissen (CIO), Remi Blokker (CEO).