Construction of the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) prototype to be tested at PLOCAN begins

The Austrian company AGRU and the Hidramar shipyard in the port of Las Palmas have started the construction of a prototype that will advance Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) technology in regions prone to severe weather conditions, which will be tested at the PLOCAN test site.

The structure, which consists of a cylindrical hull, a cold water pipe and a gimbal connection point, is being manufactured by AGRU in Austria and by the Hidramar shipyard in Gran Canaria, and the 1:5 scale prototype is expected to be ready for installation at PLOCAN in the coming months, where it will be subjected to the conditions of the Atlantic Ocean for approximately 12 months.

The PLOTEC project, which connects seven companies from across Europe, aims to contribute to the renewable energy transition in small island developing states (SIDS) that are vulnerable to severe weather conditions and currently rely heavily on old diesel generators for electricity generation.

La tecnología OTEC aprovecha el poder del océano para proporcionar un suministro continuo y rentable de energía limpia. It has significant environmental advantages over fossil fuels and nuclear power; requires less land than renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, biomass and hydro; and has the potential to produce much more useful and affordable energy than could be generated from other renewable sources.

Sam Johnston, chief engineer at Global OTEC, one of the project partners, notes that this prototype “will give us the perfect opportunity to test our cylindrical hull and gimbal solutions in 20-metre equivalent waves, and to refine our offshore connection and disconnection procedure, allowing us to maximise asset life and availability even in storm-prone regions”.

PLOCAN plays a key role in this project by providing the necessary facilities and expertise to carry out the tests in real ocean conditions. Its strategic location in the Canary Islands and its commitment to marine renewable energy research and development make it the ideal partner for this innovative project.

In addition to PLOCAN and Global OTEC, other project partners are Cleantech Engineering Limited (UK), WavEC Offshore Renewables (Portugal), Quality Culture (Italy), Agru Kunststofftechnik Gesellschaft m.b.H. (Austria) and the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics at the University of Plymouth (UK).

PLOTEC is funded by the EU’s main funding programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe, and by the UK Research and Innovation Programme (UKRI) to the tune of €3.5 million.

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