Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTE Corporation) is a breakthrough technology company that both contributes to the long-term health of the environment, and boosts the economy—locally and globally. Combining Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) and Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC), the company has discovered a way to provide sustainable energy without burning fossil fuels. They’re beginning this project in the Bahamas, which, as a coastal region, will be hugely affected by the sea-level rise and reef destruction that are associated with global climate change.
Photo: First Land Based OTEC Facility at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii
Normally, air conditioning requires the release of carbon into the atmosphere, which warms the atmosphere and increases global temperatures, which means we need more air conditioning, and so on. This process is a positive feedback loop that if left undisrupted, dramatically quickens the pace of climate change and threatens the lives of coastal-dwelling communities. SWAC uses cold deep seawater instead of common polluting refrigerants used by conventional air conditioning systems to avoid this feedback loop entirely.
Why should we make the switch? There are two reasons. One, SWAC has been proven to reduce electricity usage of standard air conditioning up to 90%, which significantly decreases carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Two, it is estimated that when used to cool large structures, SWAC can save “hundreds of millions of dollars” in electricity costs.
Currently, OTE Corporation has projected gross revenues ranging from $400 million-800 million. The members of the company’s advisory board have impressive backgrounds, too, ranging from the former Legislative Director at distinguished organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund to the former Governor of Pennsylvania, the Honorable Edward Rendell.
It is important to mention that this company is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and its key members all reside within Lancaster County. As such, when the company goes public, hopefully later this year, they will provide 50-75 high-paying jobs in their newly renovated building in the heart of Lancaster city.
This company is truly a face of the sustainable and renewable energy future. With oil prices rising and the build-up of carbon in the atmosphere, we will need to transition to cleaner forms of energy production in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. If there were ever an environmental and economic dual process for clean energy, clean drinking water, and abundant food, OTE has found, researched, tested, and implemented it successfully. As an extra bonus to their clean energy initiatives, seawater desalination is a by-product of OTEC, so clean drinking water is created alongside sustainable energy.
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion is only a part of a number of ways we can reduce our global impact on this fragile earth, but it provides inspiration for similar projects whose impacts are environmentally and economically sustainable. OTE Corporation has not found a silver bullet solution to climate change, but they’ve certainly found the potential to be a close second copper.