> How much ecological disturbance would it create?
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> 20 November 2008
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> EDITOR'S CHOICE
> Dan Palmer, online sub-editor Plumbing the
> Oceans Could Bring Limitless Clean Energy
> A clever trick with seawater could supply the
> world with limitless clean, green electricity. Ocean Thermal Energy
> Conversion exploits the difference in temperature between sea's
> warm upper layers and its frigid depths, and with demand for
> renewable energy climbing rapidly, could free many economies from
> their dependence on oil... MORE
That was suggested during the last oil crisis, in the mid-1970s. At
the time, environmental consciousness was nowhere near as ingrained
as it has since become but I, for one, was appalled at the
consequences of bringing cold, saline, nutrient-rich water up into
the photic zone. Of late, however, I have been wondering ...
There has been some speculation that we may be facing a future with
more freshwater input to the ocean surface, reducing vertical mixing
and shutting down the "global conveyor" that re-distributes heat from
low to high latitudes -- which would make human life untenable over
wide areas of our planet. Usually, attempting to fix one
environmental mess by deliberate manipulation just results in a
second and larger mess. But lots of people are saying that the old
rules no longer apply and, if they are right, bringing deep water up
to the surface might be just what we need, with the net gain in
energy a nice bonus but purely incidental.
Then again, throwing enormous research dollars into controlled
fusion, followed by the construction of massive cooling plants might
be a more viable alternative.