After launching the first International OTEC Symposium through the Korea-US Cooperation Program in 2013, the International OTEC Symposia have taken place each year. This year, the 7th International OTEC Symposium took place in South Korea September 27-28. Participants from at least 10 countries gathered to share the latest in technology, research, and projects.
The two-day event included keynotes from Luis Vega, Yasuyuki Ikegami, and Michael Petterson, more than 20 presentations, and a poster session with 28 presentations displayed. The event was closed by a meeting of the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES) task group on OTEC.
The Korean Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering and the Korean Society of Power System Engineering (KRISO and KSPSE) impressively hosted the symposium while also preparing for at-sea tests. The highlight of this year was a tour of the Korean OTEC team’s 1MW gross scale OTEC equipment led by KRISO, which had been installed on a barge ready for testing in Korean Waters.
Participants were invited to observe the intake pipe and board the barge for a close look at the OTEC facility. The barge included all the equipment necessary to operate under testing conditions. The barge departed the next morning and completed initial tests within days, despite an inbound typhoon.
We have heard that the tests went well, and we look forward to KRISO’s report once they have validated their results. We can easily say that this successful test has moved OTEC demonstration and development forward and has very likely broken the record for gross power output at the Open-Cycle test facility at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA).
The equipment tested will be transported to Kiribati for installation as an onshore OTEC facility in Tarawa.
Other presentations at the Symposium highlighted advancements in projects around the world and fed a sense of momentum. There were also first-time participants fostering new ideas and challenges.
Continuing the tradition from last year, the OTEC community awarded the 2019 Uehara Prize to Purnima Jalihal of India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
Finally, while in Korea, participants discussed, and the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and their Ocean Energy Research partners were selected as the 2020 host of the 8th International OTEC Symposium, in Cancun, Mexico.
With a historic achievement this year, we look forward to the bright opportunities OTEC provides to meet future needs in energy, water, and food.
OTEC Symposium Attendees Group Picture