£140,000 Marine-I grant awarded to UK ocean thermal energy conversion developers

Cornwall, UK – 25th September 2018 – A business which is aiming to bring a new form of renewable energy to tropical resorts is opening an R&D facility in Cornwall, thanks to Marine-i.

Global OTEC Resources moved to Newquay this week. A team of four will run this office to develop the company’s innovative concept for using ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) especially for ‘off- grid’ resorts in the Maldives and Caribbean.

Managing Director Dan Grech says: “We are working with a number of luxury resorts to introduce ocean thermal energy conversion. Other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar have not been proven as viable for meeting the energy demand of these resorts. Consequently, most are currently burning thousands of litres of diesel daily (which has the disadvantage of high carbon emissions as well as volatile costs) so there is strong interest in looking at an alternative form of renewable energy – our new concept meets their needs.”

The £140,000 grant Global OTEC Resources received from Marine-i is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and aims to boost the marine technology sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly through accelerating innovation.

“The next stage is to design a fully costed business model over the next six months. We are expecting to be ready to build our first ocean thermal energy systems at resorts in the Maldives within two years.”

Matt Hodson, Operations Director at Marine Hub Cornwall, says: “Global OTEC Resources is an example of the new wave of marine technology businesses, now being attracted to Cornwall. The company is dynamic and ambitious, with a clear view of the global market it plans to target. Marine-i is delighted to help Global OTEC Resources move their business to the next stage and exploit worldwide markets.”

Global OTEC Resources will work with technology partners DWR Offshore and Skentel to deliver this project. Richard Argall, OTEC Lead says, “Global OTEC Resources have a flexible and modern approach to commercialising OTEC. I’ve been involved in several projects in the last decade and a half with others who have tried valiantly to get huge OTEC developments off the ground. This project takes a sensible approach de-risking the technology, starting with small scale niche applications like remote island communities and that gives it a stronger chance of success”.

Tim Wood, Project Manager says “The timing is right. The team around this project is special in terms of its technical acumen. Its knowledge of the energy and offshore industries is world-class”.


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What is OTEC?

OTEC is an application of solar energy that exploits the heat that the ocean captures from the sun’s rays. It possesses huge environmental advantages over fossil fuels and nuclear power; avoids land-use problems associated with renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric power; and has the potential to produce far more useful and affordable energy than could be obtained from other renewable sources.

OTEC is a technology for converting some of the energy that the tropical oceans absorb from the sun, first into electricity and then into fuels. During an average day, the 60 million square kilometers of surface waters of the tropical oceans (located approximately 10 degrees north to 10 degrees south of the equator) absorb one quadrillion megajoules of solar energy-equivalent to the energy that would be released by the combustion of 170 billion barrels of oil per day. The surface waters are a warm-water reservoir 35 to 100 meters deep that is maintained night and day at a temperature of 25 to 28 degrees Celsius (°C).

Below about 800 meters, an enormous source of ice-cold water, which is fed by currents flowing along the ocean bottom from the northern and southern polar regions, is maintained at about 4°C.
OTEC uses this temperature difference to generate electricity. Warm water is drawn from the surface layer into a heat exchanger to vaporise a ‘working fluid’ with a boiling point of about -30°C. The vapour drives a turbine attached to an electric generator. Exhaust vapour from the turbine is subsequently condensed in a second heat exchanger, which is cooled by water pumped from the cold water source below. The condensed vapour is then returned to the boiler to complete a cycle that will generate electricity 24 hours a day throughout the year.

About Marine-i

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is a £9.3m collaboration between the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, The Cornwall College Group, Cornwall Marine Network, Cornwall Development Company and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. It brings together key infrastructure and expertise to enable technology innovation in the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s marine sector, which has been identified as an area of high growth potential by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership. Full details can be seen at:


About the European Regional Development Fund

Marine-i has received £6,851,462 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

About The Marine Challenge Fund

This is a delegated marine grant scheme that has been specifically designed to drive marine sector research, development and innovation and help bring new marine products, processes and services to market. Subject to eligibility, reimbursable grants of £2,000 to £150,000 are available for projects with growth potential. Businesses can also now access Rapid Innovation Grants. These are 100% grants of up to £2,000 to help accelerate their innovation. The money can be used to purchase services or equipment to help take their ideas or innovation to the next level. For more information see:


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