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The deep sea energy park: harvesting hydrothermal energy for seabed exploration

The deep sea energy park: harvesting hydrothermal energy for seabed exploration
The deep sea energy park: harvesting hydrothermal energy for seabed exploration
Modern society is in growing need of natural resources. Energy security remains one of the greatest challenges that we face. We need increasing amounts of energy, but it is no longer acceptable to supply it at the expense of the environment. In the coming years we will continue our struggle to innovate and discover new sources of clean, cheap and reliable energy. The ocean has vast resources that could contribute to solving our energy needs.

The evolution of the energy market in the coming 50 years requires innovation, strong international cooperation and moderation from consumers. This volume in The LRET collection on seabed exploitation will explore some opportunities of meeting these challenges. The seabed, defined here as the bottom of the ocean, has rich natural reserves including energy, solid minerals, and biogenic resources. Using a scenario planning approach, we determine that energy exploitation from the seabed has the greatest short- and long-term potential.

This volume explores the technological challenges in exploiting the seabed as a source of energy. We show two scenarios exploring an evolution-based strategy for maturing technology needed in seabed energy exploitation. The first is a conservative scenario that imagines the business as usual outcome towards greenhouse gas emissions policy. In this outcome, we imagine the growth of energy technology in ocean research, exploration and prospection. The second scenario explores the outcome of an aggressive policy and integration outcome, reflecting the IEA 450 Scenario. In this outcome, the growth of seabed energy technology derives from offshore geothermal or hydrothermal energy.

Finally, this volume shows the design of a novel application for power generation from the seabed. The system is an Autonomous Observation Node, designed for ocean research, exploration and prospection. Our novel approach for collecting power from the hydrothermal vent fields implements thermoelectric generators. We show preliminary design options, either tapping a temperature gradient directly from the plumes of a hydrothermal vent, or using high-pressure thermosyphons installed in a well on the hydrothermal mounds. These alternatives can provide clean and reliable power with less environmental impact on the surrounding ecosystem. The system design shown in this volume considers the most conservative scenario of growth for energy in the seabed exploitation industry.

We leave the reader with some thoughts. Although the ocean covers approximately 71% of our planet, much of its reserves are yet undiscovered. Any prospect of resource exploitation remains limited by our lack of understanding of the fundamental processes that shape and transform the ocean. Therefore, we need affordable and reliable technology to facilitate long-term scientific observation and exploration of the ocean.
978-0854329519
University of Southampton
Parada, Jorge
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Feng, Xiangbo
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Hauerhof, Elena
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Suzuki, Ryosuke
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Abubakar, Usman
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Shenoi, R.A.
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Wilson, P.A.
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Bennett, S.S.
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Parada, Jorge
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Feng, Xiangbo
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Hauerhof, Elena
053a92cd-603a-44a0-8f83-3d2048c1f267
Suzuki, Ryosuke
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Abubakar, Usman
c14c60d2-6df2-45f2-b98e-d423d525acdf
Shenoi, R.A.
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Wilson, P.A.
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Bennett, S.S.
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Parada, Jorge, Feng, Xiangbo, Hauerhof, Elena, Suzuki, Ryosuke and Abubakar, Usman , Shenoi, R.A., Wilson, P.A. and Bennett, S.S. (eds.) (2012) The deep sea energy park: harvesting hydrothermal energy for seabed exploration (The LRET Collegium 2012 Series: Seabed Exploitation, 3), vol. 3, Southampton, GB. University of Southampton, 128pp.

Record type: Book

Abstract

Modern society is in growing need of natural resources. Energy security remains one of the greatest challenges that we face. We need increasing amounts of energy, but it is no longer acceptable to supply it at the expense of the environment. In the coming years we will continue our struggle to innovate and discover new sources of clean, cheap and reliable energy. The ocean has vast resources that could contribute to solving our energy needs.

The evolution of the energy market in the coming 50 years requires innovation, strong international cooperation and moderation from consumers. This volume in The LRET collection on seabed exploitation will explore some opportunities of meeting these challenges. The seabed, defined here as the bottom of the ocean, has rich natural reserves including energy, solid minerals, and biogenic resources. Using a scenario planning approach, we determine that energy exploitation from the seabed has the greatest short- and long-term potential.

This volume explores the technological challenges in exploiting the seabed as a source of energy. We show two scenarios exploring an evolution-based strategy for maturing technology needed in seabed energy exploitation. The first is a conservative scenario that imagines the business as usual outcome towards greenhouse gas emissions policy. In this outcome, we imagine the growth of energy technology in ocean research, exploration and prospection. The second scenario explores the outcome of an aggressive policy and integration outcome, reflecting the IEA 450 Scenario. In this outcome, the growth of seabed energy technology derives from offshore geothermal or hydrothermal energy.

Finally, this volume shows the design of a novel application for power generation from the seabed. The system is an Autonomous Observation Node, designed for ocean research, exploration and prospection. Our novel approach for collecting power from the hydrothermal vent fields implements thermoelectric generators. We show preliminary design options, either tapping a temperature gradient directly from the plumes of a hydrothermal vent, or using high-pressure thermosyphons installed in a well on the hydrothermal mounds. These alternatives can provide clean and reliable power with less environmental impact on the surrounding ecosystem. The system design shown in this volume considers the most conservative scenario of growth for energy in the seabed exploitation industry.

We leave the reader with some thoughts. Although the ocean covers approximately 71% of our planet, much of its reserves are yet undiscovered. Any prospect of resource exploitation remains limited by our lack of understanding of the fundamental processes that shape and transform the ocean. Therefore, we need affordable and reliable technology to facilitate long-term scientific observation and exploration of the ocean.

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Published date: 2012
Organisations: Physical Oceanography, Fluid Structure Interactions Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 349890
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/349890
ISBN: 978-0854329519
PURE UUID: 6a59a9d4-e09d-416e-a75d-4c6d9baf654c
ORCID for P.A. Wilson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6939-682X

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Date deposited: 13 Mar 2013 12:00
Last modified: 11 Dec 2021 02:39

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Contributors

Author: Jorge Parada
Author: Xiangbo Feng
Author: Elena Hauerhof
Author: Ryosuke Suzuki
Author: Usman Abubakar
Editor: R.A. Shenoi
Editor: P.A. Wilson ORCID iD
Editor: S.S. Bennett

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