Hydrothermal energy is the process of obtaining heat or energy from a large body of water. 'Heat', in this case should not be associated with high temperature (as it may be with geothermal energy) but rather a relative heat content or relative temperature difference. The abundance of this renewable energy source was testified by the eminent ocean energy scientist, Hans Krock. "The energy flowing through the surface layer of the tropical ocean is about 10,000 times greater than the energy used by human societies. As such it is the only energy resource on Earth that is large enough to replace fossil fuel."1
Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), the prior art, is a subset of what is conceived as hydrothermal energy. Whereas OTEC (also known as hydrothermal power generation), focuses on electrical power generation from ocean temperature difference, hydrothermal energy offers a more comprehensive utilization of the natural water resources. The water resources may be transported to and from the source and collocated for utilization on the surface on floating platforms or from shore-based applications. The shore-based applications may involve laying down pipes into the water source, or using drilling techniques, such as tunnel boring or directional drilling, also known as drilled hydrothermal energy.2 According to Tadeusz Frank Jagusztyn, an inventor and innovator in the renewable energy field, there are at least eight embodiments or benefits from a comprehensive hydrothermal energy plant.3. They are:
Hans. Testimony of Dr. Hans Krock re: Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion
(OTEC) LOL T-9 Public Utilities Commission Docket No. 05-0145 O`ahu
Power Plant. Pg. 4.
2. Jagusztyn, Tadeusz F. and Reny, Marie (2010). "Natural Cold Water District Cooling Plants Enabled by Directional Drilling," Road to Climate Friendly Chillers UNEP – ASHRAE Conference, Sept 2010, Cairo, Egypt.
3. Jagusztyn, Tadeusz (Ted). (2011) "Hydrothermal Energy: Sustainable Benefits for Island and Coastal Communities." Peer reviewed accepted paper submission 7550 – ASHRAE Winter Conference, Jan 2012, Chicago.
This article was written and contributed by Ted Jagusztyn, CoTherm of America Corporation.