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Water Now More Awesome Than Previously Thought

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the it's-like-you-can't-live-without-it dept.

Science 708

Dan writes "Wired has a great article about a guy who thinks we can provide unlimited energy , accelerate crop growth, desalinize and purify drinking water, obtain health benefits and provide air conditioning, all by pumping up water from the depths of the ocean."

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1st (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640465)

frist psot!

Re:1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640509)

WOOF!

Re:1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640583)

silly moo

More Efficient Coastal Farming (5, Interesting)

coop0030 (263345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640467)

This is a fantastic idea, except for one flaw. This would only work for cities near the coast. Where I'm from (Minnesota) I don't see how this could possibly work (Lake Superior is very cold though, that is a possibility).

I like how he irrigates the farms. The sweating of the pipes below ground is a great idea. It seems much more efficient than spraying water everywhere, and having a lot of it evaporate.

He may be a nut (or not, I'm not a good judge of character), but he does have a great way of looking at his environment.

Re:More Efficient Coastal Farming (1, Insightful)

-kertrats- (718219) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640489)

Hey, we're the land of 10,000 lakes. We've got lots of water!

Re:More Efficient Coastal Farming (4, Informative)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640549)

Actually Cornell University is cooled by Lake Source Cooling, and Lake Cayuga, while the biggest finger lake and fairly deep, is nothing all that special. Cornell was able to successfully cut its emissions and energy usage by about 90% with this thing, with no ill effects to the lake. I say that because some locals thought that it would kick up sedament which would cause eutrophication, but this never occurred. Also, people were worried that the warm water being dumped near the surface would impact the lake, but measurements showed that you can't even tell the difference in temperature more than 10 feel away. All in all, it was a really good move by the university. My only regret is that my freshman dorm wasn't hooked up to it so I didn't have any AC in the summer!

Re:More Efficient Coastal Farming (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640603)

You need to read the facts on the technology, go here:

http://www.ocees.com/ [ocees.com]

Re:More Efficient Coastal Farming (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640622)

You need to read about the technology, go here:

http://www.ocees.com/ [ocees.com]

Re:More Efficient Coastal Farming (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640631)

About the sweating of pipes, it sounds a lot like
drip irrigation, pioneered some Israeli.

It's been around since, what, the mid 60's?

Oh, found information:
http://www.netafim.com/About_Us/NETAFIM_Drip_Irrig ation_History.htm [netafim.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drip_irrigation [wikipedia.org]

Re:More Efficient Coastal Farming (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640637)

you definitely need to read about the technology, go here:

http://www.ocees.com/ [ocees.com]

Re:More Efficient Coastal Farming (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640651)

Wouldn't that be where hydrogen comes in? People keep thinking that hydrogen is this great SOURCE of energy when it's really more of a great way to store and transfer energy. The problem with fuel cells is that without renewable sources of energy, you're still stuck burning fossil fuels in order to make the hydrogen. Wouldn't it be interesting if tiny little islands in the Carribean and South Pacific become the Saudi Arabias of the future.

Re:More Efficient Coastal Farming (3, Funny)

nokilli (759129) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640673)

Not only does the city have to be on the coast, it has to be tropical in climate. Otherwise, condensation won't occur, and that's where the fresh water comes from. The power generation too depends on temperature differential so it's no good in winter.

Re:More Efficient Coastal Farming (4, Insightful)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640716)

I like how he irrigates the farms. The sweating of the pipes below ground is a great idea. It seems much more efficient than spraying water everywhere, and having a lot of it evaporate.

Maybe I've forgotten too much of my highschool physics, but how does this really work? I was under the impression that the "sweat" on cold pipes is the result of the chilling of the surrounding air/material, which lowers its capacity for carrying water, thus in essence extracting it into solid form.

So if the pipes sweat below ground, aren't they simply solidifying water that already is in the ground? If so, that's not what I'd call irrigation...

This is an old old idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640473)

There were scientists working on this in the 70's, and they had limited results.

also fp

Re:This is an old old idea (2, Informative)

blackketter (72157) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640602)

It was the same guy! He's almost 80...

Re:This is an old old idea (1)

ACNiel (604673) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640712)

Still old news. So old that a tour guide was telling me about it 2 years ago. The university in Hawaii has evidently been doing this. The irrigation was an interesting side effect.

Not to mention all the other people that have actually experienced similar setups that have already posted.

________ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640485)

.
.

Like all energy sources.... (0)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640490)

This will run out some day if we exploit it like we do oil and other things.

Re:Like all energy sources.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640502)

Renewable doesn't mean it will never run out. It means it won't run out in any human timeline, aka, lots and lots of years.

Who cares what happens after we're gone?

Re:Like all energy sources.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640605)

Renewable doesn't mean that either. Trees are a renewable resource, but if we're not carefull we are perfectly capable of turning all our forests into lumber, paper and firewood till we run out.

Re:Like all energy sources.... (1)

erlenic (95003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640734)

Just remember, if you don't like logging, try using plastic toilet paper :) Saw that on a bumper sticker in northern Idaho.

Re:Like all energy sources.... (0, Offtopic)

PHPgawd (744675) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640522)

The next version of Windows will most undoubtedly require more power than the Sun can adequately put out. We may have to look for a new solar system asap.

Re:Like all energy sources.... (4, Insightful)

Omkar (618823) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640527)

Do you have any idea how much water there is in the ocean? And what the specific heat of water is? By the time we're pulling enough energy to make a difference, we'll have colonies in multiple solar systems.

Re:Like all energy sources.... (1, Insightful)

Holi (250190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640594)

Yes and by screwing with the oceans themodynamics we will have finally ruined earth as a livable habitat so that we'll NEED those several colonies. Do you have any idea how important the ocean's balance is to our lives. I'd prefer we actually think of the long term effects of our next "Unlimited" energy source.

Re:Like all energy sources.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640672)

"screwing with the oceans themodynamics"?

First, that doesn't make sense (even if you had spelled thermodynamics properly).

Second, get an introductory physics textbook and see how much energy we would have to remove from the oceans to lower its temperature by say 0.01 degrees. It's a lot.

Re:Like all energy sources.... (1)

ultramk (470198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640729)

Yeah, pretty much.

Mind you, we're adding so much energy to the ocean already (through the greenhouse effect) that what miniscule amount we would be taking out through this process would actually be helping.

I hate knee-jerk reactions.

m-

Re:Like all energy sources.... (1)

jimi the hippie (725322) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640746)

"we're adding so much energy to the ocean already (through the greenhouse effect)"???!!! I'm sorry that I'm the one who had to tell you this, but the greenhouse effect occured on earth long before there was LIFE let alone Humans. We do not create this energy, nor do we add it to the ocean, the sun and atomophere take care of most of that. They were here long before us, and they will be here long after us

Re:Like all energy sources.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640740)

In 1925, they would have said the same thing about oil. Less than 100 years later, we're looking at peak production and increasing energy costs for the forseeable future. Fewer than a hundred people have been into space, and nobody lives there permanently. Don't underestimate humanity's collective ability to do nothing...

Re:Like all energy sources.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640754)

Remember the reason that we had Y2K? Because someone did a sloppy job instead of building something to last.

like oil, like wind, like solar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640552)

I'm sure you get my point.

Re:Like all energy sources.... (4, Informative)

dacarr (562277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640644)

Lessee, water converts to steam and might break down, but odds are will recondense into... water. So where are we depleting this source? And if it's temperature, remember that heat rises, so by default (and by convection) this water is its own heat sink.

And it keeps people alive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640492)

Pretty Awesome huh?

WhatMeWorry

Ha, whatever (4, Funny)

CypherXero (798440) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640494)

"You see, I apply cold temperatures to different parts of my body in three bastings. The third is the most complicated - I ice the terminuses of my lymphatic system. My body heals itself. Look at these hands," he says, opening and closing his fists. "I have no joint pain of any kind!"

You're just numbing the pain. Idiot.

Amateur. (5, Funny)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640604)

I've been applying icy cold beverages (usually beer) to the INSIDE of my body for years, and let me tell ya what, after a six'er, let me assure you I'm feeling no joint pain at all. I do tend to have a headache the next day though...

Never dealt with sports injuries, have you? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640607)

Seriously, cooling parts of yourself with ice causes the body to react and change bloodflow to the cooled area, usually increasing it markedly. The extra circulation does help healing.

Funny thing is, heat kinda does the same thing, albeit not as effectively. Most folks don't like the ice and go for the heat for injuries, though, because heat "feels better". Icing an injury can actually be painful - drop a sprained ankle into a large bucket of ice and water for ten or twenty minutes and the first minute or so will have you twisting and turning and writhing as your foot hurts like hell from the cold water. The pain does go away though after a minute or two.

Heat won't cause that pain. But heat will increase the internal bleeding from an injury if it's not fully healed yet, making the injury worse. Icing an injury will help stop any internal bleeding.

At least that's what my college football trainer told me one time as I was sitting waist-deep in a whirlpool of ice and water to treat a pulled groin muscle. Talk about having your balls shrivel up...

Convenient... (5, Funny)

B00yah (213676) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640496)

That /. would post a story on the awesomeness of water shortly after ThinkGeek begins selling a Water Powered Clock [thinkgeek.com] and a Mini Water Dispenser [thinkgeek.com]

Stupid planted articles...I'll buy what I want!...oooh...clock...

This is fantastic! (1, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640497)

What the world needs, facing this energy crisis, is more pseudo-scientific, completely unfeasible, sketchy "unlimited energy" solutions.

Luckily it's pure grade-A horse poop. Imagine the climactic effects, and effects on the oceans ecosystems, if we had the equipment to pump that much water up from the floor? IIRC, it takes 100s to 1000s of years for nature to do the same thing..

Re:This is fantastic! (3, Insightful)

bobbis.u (703273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640578)

To be fair, the science seems perfectly sound (read the last page of the article where the methods are explained). Whether it is actually practical and viable is another matter.

The "limitless energy" claim is pure hype, but just ignore that bit.

As you point out, it is also important to evaluate the long term affects of removing significant amounts of cold water from the oceans (disrupting ocean currents, overall water temp. rises, etc). The drinking water generator would also lower the air humidity, which would cause problems if the project was done on a wide scale.

I am sure this technology has applications in some circumstances (perhaps on oil rigs, remote islands, etc), but it is certainly not the solution to all our energy problems. Done on a large scale it would be unsustainable.

I'm still waiting for practical fusion power...

Re:This is fantastic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640649)

you're wrong.

Cold h20+Stirling engine=reliable 0-emission power (2, Informative)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640656)

>>pseudo-scientific, completely unfeasible, sketchy "unlimited energy" solutions

I'm sure they said the same thing about the internal combustion engine. Thanks for your complete lack of vision.

Just think for a moment what a clean source of power this could be. Stirling engines (external combustion engines) are quire remarkable little machines which extract power from a thermal delta. Hook a deepsea cold water supply to a Sterling engine and you'd have an extremely reliable, zero-pollution source for reciprocal motion or electricity generation. And the hotter the climate, the more effective it would be due to the greater thermal delta. Wouldn't you call a zero-emission engine be a desirable product?

Re:Cold h20+Stirling engine=reliable 0-emission po (2, Interesting)

alienw (585907) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640759)

Pick up an introductory thermodynamics textbook. Find the chapter with the Carnot cycle. Calculate the Carnot efficiency of this setup. Calculate how many thousands of gallons you are going to have to pump to produce a single kilowatt (yes, it's that bad). This was actually a homework problem in my thermo class. You end up with some ridiculous numbers, and wonder how the hell these people are getting money handed to them to build something that's about as useful as a perpetual motion machine.

Re:This is fantastic! (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640661)

Luckily it's pure grade-A horse poop.

Er, no, not really. Granted, this particular guy sounds a few gallons short of a hogshead, but deriving useable energy from cooling things off works exactly the same way as by heating them up - Namely, we can use the transfer of energy from the warmer side to the colder side to perform useful work (such as generating electricity). The absolute temperatures involves don't particularly matter.

So why do virtually all human-created energy extraction technologies use warmer than ambient going to ambient as the two sides? Simple... We humans have enjoyed, at least for the past few millenia, a really easy way to get things hot (ie, fire and a supply of fuel that literally grows on (as?) trees). We have not had a convenient way of making something colder-than-ambient, except very recently (within the past century), and even then only by using the hot-to-ambient conversion to get electricity to do the ambient-to-cold conversion - Sort of trading one for the other, with a net loss in both conversions.

Deep ocean water, however, provides exactly that - A nearly limitless supply of something colder than ambient, with a high enough specific heat that the energy we can extract from the temperature gradient FAR exceeds the energy needed to pump it in the first place.


Imagine the climactic effects, and effects on the oceans ecosystems

Now, here you make a good point. In the short term, or on a small scale, I would tend to say that we couldn't even come close to the natural processes that mix the oceans. But then, people thought the same about burning wood and later oil, until just the past few decades.

Re:This is fantastic! (2, Insightful)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640732)

You appear to know very little about this. "horse poop"? Cornell doesn't think so. [cornell.edu] Climate change? Got a high school physics education? Go do some math.

Obligatory Comic Book Guy... (4, Funny)

mindaktiviti (630001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640505)

Best. Headline. Ever.

I see a flaw. (4, Interesting)

tehdely (690619) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640518)

Doesn't pumping up water from the ocean consume lots of energy?

Re:I see a flaw. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640676)

I think he is counting on inertia, or some more subtle effect I can't think of.

The articale mentions that once the system is primed, it takes very little energy to keep pumping.

Think about it. You're not pumping water up into the air, you're pumping water above other water. Without any pumping, the water will automatically lift the water to, you guessed it, sea level. You only neet to lift it the extra 30 feet to your beach side farm.

Getting the system started probably takes a lot of power as you have to get all the water in your pipe moving fast enough so the water won't warm up by exchanging heat with the outside water, but one it's moving, inertia will help you keep going. You only need to make up for friction, and for the fact that cold water is slightly less dense.

Then again the article mentions that the pipe acts like a siphon, so maybe there is some other effect I can't think of. Maybe the decreased pressure because of the pump makes water freeze and therefore rise? dunno.

Re:I see a flaw. (4, Informative)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640718)

That's what I assumed at first, too. But according to TFA it allegedly sustains itself like a siphon. It's mostly a one-time problem to get the flow started, I guess... then the siphon does most of the work. (Presumably with some level of ongoing pump assistance.)

If true, that is a truly neat hack.

The Onion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640544)

A bit onionesque if you ask me....which you didn't. What's with the confirmation thing when I post?

Obligatory Homer... (2, Funny)

Tmack (593755) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640710)

In this house we OBEY the laws of thermodynamics!

tm

Ugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640515)

Dam, those pages in that story are really ugly.

Dihydrogen Monoxide (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640517)

Be careful! Dihydrogen Monoxide [dhmo.org] can be a dangerous thing! Spread the word.

ocean temperatures? (5, Interesting)

victorl19 (879236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640519)

Wouldnt excessive use of this method perhaps alter ocean temperatures?

Maybe it will turn out like windmills- they take negligible energy out of the wind.

Re:ocean temperatures? (1)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640555)

Wouldn't excessive use of this method perhaps alter ocean temperatures?

And even if it didn't, aren't there things that live down there that are used to not having their environment pumped through a tube to a temperature and pressure it wasn't used to? Sounds like we could seriously mess up the world's ecosystem if we ever did it in any volume.

Re:ocean temperatures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640671)

And even if it didn't, aren't there things that live down there that are used to not having their environment pumped through a tube to a temperature and pressure it wasn't used to?

If they don't like it, they can complain at our conveniently-located office on Alpha Centauri.

Re:ocean temperatures? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640580)

Yes, just as your methane production contributes to global warming.

Remember folks, every time you fart, Dog kills a kitten.

Re:ocean temperatures? (5, Informative)

werdnapk (706357) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640655)

Hydrothermal events (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_vent [wikipedia.org] ) exist in the oceans and pump out water at temperatures very close to, if not, at boiling temperatures. Pumping warm water back into the ocean is not going to make that much of a difference on the oceans.

Re:ocean temperatures? (4, Funny)

Kafka_Canada (106443) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640705)

Oceans are big - really big - you just won't believe how vastly, hugely mind-bogglingly big they are. You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to oceans.

(ref. [brainyquote.com] )

OTEC? Old news... (2, Informative)

neiffer (698776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640520)

OTEC, as a concept, has been around for quite some time. Prototypes have been built and tested around the world. Old news!

Re:OTEC? Old news... (3, Funny)

PHPgawd (744675) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640546)

OTEC? Holy Christ don't tell me that the Arabs are already planning on price-fixing this market before it even gets started!

Re:OTEC? Old news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640635)

Hey! OPEC is a South American thing :-)

Good, but... (2, Insightful)

voteforkerry78 (819720) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640523)

what effect will it have on the ocean? Will it disrupt the wild life? What does this thing have going against it? That was a poor article for Wired. If this technology is going to be so successful why isn't being tried all over the place? It must have opposition for some reason. Wired didn't cover it in the story however.

Re:Good, but... (4, Informative)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640556)

If this technology is going to be so successful why isn't being tried all over the place?

Because there are only a few islands throughout the world where it's practical. If you have a continental shelf, it ain't gonna work.

Re:Good, but... (1)

aoasus (786460) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640674)

They suggest offshore platforms that would convert energy to Hydrogen.

And in what new ways will this foobar the world? (0, Flamebait)

podperson (592944) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640525)

Let's wait and see.

Deep Sea Environment? (1, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640526)

Great, now we're going to thermally pollute the deep sea? Perhaps the only ecosystem left untouched by man?

Re:Deep Sea Environment? (1)

nso (825449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640595)

Actually not quite right.
There are "streams" of water in fast motion comming from the poles. Due to global warming almost every one of these streames have vanished. These streams are the fuel that keeps the Gulf stream flowing. Remove the fuel and the Gulf stream stops. Stop the Gulf stream and hello iceage in the northern part of the world.

Re:Deep Sea Environment? (3, Informative)

ultramk (470198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640696)

It's not untouched by man. From shipwrecks to dumping of garbage to all the usual pollutants, the deep-ocean is most certainly affected by our presence already. Of course, there's nothing new about this, it's just harder to tell when you can't actually visit most of this stuff in person, and have to send ROVs.

As far as benthic thermal pollution, it already exists in the form of deep ocean thermal vents. Of course these are natural, even though they spew vast amounts of sulphur etc. I would suspect the ecosystem down there would handle this pretty well, since by the time the warm water got back down it would be nearly the same temperature as the surrounding water.

Of course, it would be wise to run a full-scale test for a few years to determine the localized impact on the biosphere,(before widely deploying it) but I wouldn't jump to any conclusions until we see the findings.

m-

dude (5, Funny)

thesalodonkey (855820) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640528)

it's way more awesome than you even know... now where did i put my bong... what? no way! that uses water too! sweeeet!

Re:dude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640681)

dude....! maybe we could use the cold seawater to make three batches of killer ganja every summer...that would be bitchin'

Water? In a bong? Boring. (1)

lheal (86013) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640753)

Try Jose Cuervo.

Just don't burn yourself up.

This information could be dangerous (2, Funny)

Altima(BoB) (602987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640567)

Be careful who you disclose water's potential to... before you know it you'll have Keanu Reeves trying to outrun blue shock waves on motorcycles...

Pharmaceutical appliances are on the way (0, Offtopic)

bohemian_observer (886213) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640577)

What about "Hawai water" sure errection
or "Hawai water" penis enlargement in just 3 weeks?

These Guys Know What's Up. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640581)

Re:These Guys Know What's Up. (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640745)

Yeh, interesting how their "News" section only has "December 2003", and I mean ONLY that, not even an entry for that heading, just the heading...

Tm

very low thermal efficiency (5, Informative)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640585)

The efficiency of these system is extremely low because the temperature difference is so miniscule. For thermodynamic efficiency purposes temperatures are measured in Kelvin and temperature differences are only a few percent. The maximum efficiency of these plants in an ideal world is only 6%. When you account for the very large amounts of energy needed to pump huge volumes of water, the real efficiency is only 2-3%. This FAQ covers this and other issues. [poemsinc.org]

Yes, you can get energy, but not much.

Re:very low thermal efficiency (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640717)

You would be very lucky to get 2% actual efficiency. By the time you take pumping work and stuff like that into account, you are left with something like 0.5% efficiency. The biggest plants out there produce some laughable amount of power, like 100kW (if you are lucky). These are some HUGE, very expensive systems.

Re:very low thermal efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640739)

But the OTEC plants run 24 hours a day, practically 365 days a year. NO OTHER power technology has as high an uptime as OTECS do. OTEC provides BASELOAD power.

Waste Of Effort? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640586)

all by pumping up water from the depths of the ocean


Why? Isn't there enough water at the surface of the ocean?

Captain Nemo (2)

sankyuu (847178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640591)

Looks like the vision of Captain Nemo from 20K Leagues Under the Sea. Wave turbines, gold extraction, and environmentally sound food gathering, Jules Verne recognizes that we are barely tapping the vast resources of the deep.

concerned about thermal pollution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640599)

Call me crazy, but I can't help but wonder about the prospect that there will be significant thermal pollution because of this process. It's unclear how the removing of cold water from a depth and presumably returning it to the same depth would affect microbial life. Maybe it isn't piped back down, but is discharged at a lesser depth?

Chain Reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640601)

Hopefully, Keanu Reeves decides to recreate his earlier success [imdb.com] in fighting evil corporate scientists by releasing the water-to-energy schematics under GPL.

Delicate balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640606)

As some one allready mentioned this would run out... and when it does, the gulfstream would cease to exist. ...same effects of global warming.

Neat, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640616)

That temperature gap can be harnessed to create a nearly unlimited supply of energy.

Nearly unlimited?

Great (0, Flamebait)

future assassin (639396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640617)

So now we suck up all the cold water and heat up the ocean even more.

but (0, Redundant)

calyptos (752073) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640619)

yeah, yay for electricity.

but does it run linux?

More energy than pumping requires, (0)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640625)

I wonder?

perpetuum mobile? (2, Insightful)

Oldest European (886715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640626)

provide unlimited energy [...] by pumping up water from the depths of the ocean

I guess the energy you need to pump up the water would be provided by the same water - not.

I have no [...] pain of any kind!

Pain-free! Guess that explains it... ;-)

Age and whatnot (3, Funny)

dacarr (562277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640634)

He's 80, so he can't be lasting very long from here on out. I hope he wrote something down then.

freak accident (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640663)

Unlimited energy?

I bet this guy will now die froïÎfreak accident of some sort.

This guy is even cooler than you might think (3, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640666)

Check out 'Blind Man's Bluff', which is about the post-WWII craziness that was Cold War submarine espionage. This guy is smart, smart, smart.

Some of his ideas are nuts (5, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640680)

Conventional wisdom is that exposure to cold water causes arthritis, not cures it! Having worked one summer in a fish packing plant, I can attest that people do in fact hurt very much after spending 8 hours working with cold water...

In theory cold-water energy works; anytime you have a temperature differential it can be harnessed to create energy according to the laws of thermodynamics. In practice, I'd question whether the constant pumping and maintenance (saltwater is highly corrosive) wouldn't require more energy than you get out of this system.

One more thing: it's all fun and games until you suck a whale into the input pipe! But seriously, if you pump up nutrient-rich soup from the deep, in a few years your pipe is going to be so clogged up with marine critters that your flow rate is going to tend towards zero...

For all you Engineering Types... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640685)

For all you Engineering Types, here is a page with an animation which shows the basis for the technology:

http://www.ocees.com/mainpages/Powersystems.html/ [ocees.com]

I was there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12640706)

I remember visting a small lab like this on the big island of hawaii for a 8th grade science trip, not sure if its connected with this but it was really awesome, they were pumping the super cold water into the ground through pipes with plants above them and growing them, the plants never needed water since the pipes acted like a glass full of ice attracting water to it from the air or in this case the ground, which the plants loved this cold and always moist ground to grow in, as i recall the ground wasnt pure dirt either there was alot of volcanic rocks mixed in too.

They also had a i think it was called a cyclon tower in which they used the same process of cold water through the pipes in this tower to attracted the pure water in the air and rain back down into tanks making pure water, it was a really fun trip and it was either hawaii or washington dc for my 8th grade trip sooo :D

Electricity generation? (2, Insightful)

shrewtamer (521554) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640727)

I can't visualise the physics of the electricity generation from the information in the article. Can anyone provide a clearer picture?

Thanks

He Doesn't Have the Half Of It... (4, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640747)

Water is way more awesome than most people realize - because of hydrogen bonding -

It is a key component in life; it's solvency and structure are what makes biochemistry work.

It has about the widest range of temperature as a liquid of any simple material - making life possible over the face of the earth.

It is the closest thing to a universal sovent we will ever see.

Since it expands on freezing ice floats - just think what a mess the oceans would be if they were made of something that shrank when it froze, and the ice sank. The planet would have much wider extremes in temperature just because of that small fact.

Wate has an immense heat capacity compared to other liquids... moderating our weather

The beat goes on; it's unique chemistry and physics are whe we live off of every day.

Australian USENET users (1)

chrism238 (657741) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640751)

... will fully appreciate the suggestion that this idea was probably stolen from the infinite mind of Sir Jean-Paul Taurcard, and we await anxiously for his claim to it.

P.H.D. (1, Interesting)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640760)

I have never heard of an "ocean engineer," as opposed to chemical engineer or electrical engineer. Can one really engineer an ocean, or do we need a more politically correct title that accounts for trivialities.... Maybe something like "Cold Water Systems Engineer?" i dunno i'm sleepy. zzzzz

Atlantean Tech (1, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640765)

We better work fast. The islands on which they plan to base these deep-ocean temperature mining operations will mostly submerge beneath the rising seas [usgs.gov] caused by our last wave of "unlimited energy", petrofuels. Their energy needs will be resolved forever, but that won't help the rest of us any.

hmm (2, Interesting)

itzdandy (183397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12640769)

a)underground sweating of pipes is not very effective BECAUSE the sweating is atmospheric condensation, in the ground you will just pull condensation out of the adjacent soil. though it would have some effect, it would not be a complete irrigation solution as soil does not flow like air :)

b)colder water from the depths would produce a LOT of condensation on a hot summer day, but the cost of pumping will reduce the efficiency of the method. consider that pumping will not be extramely expensive, similarly as expensive as pumping the volume of water horizontally because you dont actually lift a volume of water, just displace the water on the bottom to the top and the ocean does the work.

c)very cold water on ocean floor, mildy cool water to warm water on surface = nice temp difference. enough to run a sterling engine on to produce electricity. coupled with solar heat collectors this would infact be practical in some areas.
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