Symposium to Put Ocean Thermal Energy to Practical Use

The Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering (“KRISO” hereinafter, President Suh, Sang-hyun) under the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology will host the Symposium on the Practical Use of Ocean Thermal Energy on Wednesday, November 2 at the Sol Beach Hotel & Resort in Samcheok, Gangwon Province. This event celebrates the launch of the construction of a seawater air-conditioning (SWAC) system using a 500 RT-grade turbo heat pump, which was developed by KRISO and funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, and will be introduced to the resort upon completion. The symposium will be an excellent opportunity to promote the use of ocean energy as well.

*A 500 RT-grade pump is capable of processing heat generated from a 16,530 square meter area for one hour.

A SWAC system supplies heat needed for a building’s cooling and heating by using ocean (deep seawater, costal bottom water, beach filtered water, etc.) thermal energy. Because the temperature of seawater is 5-10 C 〫lower than the air during summer and 5-8 C 〫higher in winter, a heat pump using seawater as a thermal source (hereinafter “seawater heat pump”) makes it possible to supply chilled or hot water for heating and cooling purposes in an efficient manner. For cooling, a coolant (fresh water) is chilled either through direct heat exchange of deep seawater or by using a seawater heat pump and then used as a cooling source for a building. For heating, on the other hand, a heating medium (fresh water) is heated using a seawater heat pump and is used for heating a building and for supplying hot water.

*Deep seawater: Cold seawater (2 C〫) that exists at a depth of over 200 meters

A heat pump absorbs heat from a heat source at low temperatures and generates high-temperature heat, and is capable of supplying more energy by using less energy. It is a clean energy technology that does not generate any pollutants as it does not use fossil fuel and thus involves no fuel combustion.

With the introduction of the SWAC system, the Sol Beach officials expect that the resort will achieve energy savings worth 150 million KRW by reducing its energy use by about 131.0 TOE annually. In addition, it will also be able to cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 255.5 t, which will contribute to establishing a foundation for low-carbon, clean production.

*TOE (Tonnage of Oil Equivalent): Energy generated from burning one ton of oil. 1 TOE is 10,000 kal.

In addition to the symposium, KRISO will also open an exhibition to showcase ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) and other technologies using seawater air conditioning techniques. The symposium will be an opportunity for participants to have comprehensive discussions on ways to promote practical use and spread of ocean energy, such as plans for ocean energy commercialization, and for increased practical utilization and spread of new and renewable energy. The day’s agenda includes a presentation by Kim Hyun-joo, Director of the Seawater Utilization Plant Research Center under KRISO, entitled “Overview of OTEC Technology and Ways to Promote Practical Use,” followed by lectures by Professor Choi Ju-yeop from Gwangun University on “Directions for Convergence of Ocean and Land New and Renewable Energy,” and by Dr. Oh Wi-yeong of KRISO on “Directions for Fostering an Environmentally Friendly Ocean Energy Town.” Professor Yoon Jeong-in from Bukyong National University will then preside over a discussion on “Comprehensive Overview of Ways to Promote Practical Use of Ocean Energy.”

KRISO officials said that the institute will contribute to promoting domestic commercialization of ocean energy through continuous development of seawater thermal energy while endeavoring to bring Korea one step closer to commercializing the technology and using it for practical use through operation in island nations near the equator such as Fiji, Kiribati, and Tuvalu.