An innovative ocean thermal energy project has taken another significant step forward, thanks to support from the Marine-i programme.

Last September, Global OTEC Resources received a £140k grant from Marine-i which enabled the company to establish its operation in Cornwall. Its plan is to use ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) technology to provide green energy to ‘off-grid’ islands across the tropics.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is designed to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.

This week, Global OTEC Resources announced that it has successfully completed the initial designs and feasibility studies for this cutting-edge project and is already progressing to detailed design of the key components, all with the aid of a further £80k grant from Marine-i.

The MD of Global OTEC Resources, Dan Grech, is delighted with how quickly the project is taking shape.

He said: “We now have a preliminary design for our floating Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant. This enables us to provide an accurate, on-budget cost model to meet the needs of our identified market.

“Our work has already attracted a letter of support from the Maldivian government, as well as a memorandum of understanding from a major, publicly-listed hotel chain which owns 50 resorts across the tropics. This demonstrates the outstanding commercial potential of our technology.”

Parallel with this, technical studies have been completed which examined seabed conditions and soil types in The Maldives, as well as wind speeds, current speeds and wave heights. For part of this, the Marine-i team enlisted the help of a research fellow at the University of Exeter, which has carried out pioneering work to support the project.

Matt Hodson, Marine Hub operations director at Cornwall Development Company and a partner in Marine-i, explained: “The biggest technical challenge for this next stage will be finalising the detailed design of the seawater intake and outtake pipes which are of fundamental importance for the operation of the plant.

“The cold-water intake pipeline must transport tonnes of seawater every second, through a pipeline that is suspended almost a mile vertically from a floating barge. This a highly ambitious project which could put Cornwall at the centre of an important marine technology of the future.”

An off-grid resort in The Maldives