A business which is aiming to bring a new form of renewable energy to tropical islands is undertaking geotechnical, meteorological and oceanographic studies of the Maldives.

Global OTEC Resources has spent the last year developing the company’s innovative concept for using ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) especially for ‘off-grid’ resorts and local islands across the
tropics. The company was awarded a £140,000 ‘Marine Challenge Fund’ grant in September 2018 to further the concept and will now look at the specific characteristics of the Maldivian archipelago.

A geotechnical study will determine how the relevant physical and chemical properties of the seabed will influence the design of the mooring system – a critical component of the OTEC offshore technology. A number of borehole samples and laboratory test results will be considered to carry out an initial assessment.

The company appointed Ryder Geotechnical Limited to provide expert advice based on their experience in the offshore oil and gas and renewables sectors. Ryder are uniquely placed to draw extensive knowledge based on previous work in the oil and gas sector, but also based on the studies it has previously carried out for a deepwater OTEC unit off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

Global OTEC Resources is also very pleased to be working in collaboration with the University Of Exeter’s Ocean Engineering group through Marine-i, who will deliver a preliminary site MetOcean report in the first quarter of 2019 covering several identified key areas in the Maldives. The study will encompass a wideranging review of open source materials, in order to consider the temperature profiles, wind speeds, wave heights and currents at multiple co-ordinate points across the region, and will allow the Global OTEC Resources team to refine the hull and mooring system for the unit.

All of the above will help the company to further refine its cost model for the capital expenditure required to harness the Maldives thermal energy stored in the Indian Ocean.

Earlier this year, the Maldives Ministry of Economic Development issued a letter of support to Global OTEC Resources in a follow up to its meeting with the company held in Male in December. In this letter, Hon’
Minister Fayyaz Ismail asserted that “Renewable energy is of utmost importance to the Maldivian Government’ and that the government promised to ‘extend its full support throughout this inquiry‘ to Global OTEC Resources.

Global OTEC Resources’ Managing Director Dan Grech said: “The Maldives is crying out for innovative, alternative renewable energy solutions. Local and tourist islands are collectively spending hundreds of millions of dollars on diesel fuels every year because their unique geography prohibits other renewable energy sources that are currently on the market. The interest we’ve received from the government and private tourism sector really highlights the potential for developing zero-fuel OTEC plants in the Maldives and we’re incredibly excited about this venture.

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