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Feasibility study approved for Ocean Thermal Energy renewable plant

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Lancaster-based Ocean Thermal Energy Corp. is proceeding with a feasibility study for an on-shore ocean thermal energy conversion renewable energy power plant.

OTE and the U.S. Virgin Islands signed a memorandum of understanding for the feasibility study, the company said in a news release today. The technology includes seawater air conditioning facilities.

"Thanks to the leadership of the (U.S. Virgin Islands), we will be moving forward to thoroughly evaluate the applicability of OTEC, SWAC, and their associated fresh water and sustainable food production for the people here." said Jeremy Feakins, CEO of OTE.

Feakins added that the OTE technologies "could have a tremendous positive impact in terms of long-term energy independence and economic development based upon (the U.S. Virgin Islands') most abundant renewable local resource -- the ocean."

The process of ocean thermal energy conversion involves pumping warm water from the ocean to heat a "working fluid" such as a mixture of ammonia and water, Feakins has said.

Ammonia has a low boiling point, so the working fluid boils quickly to create steam. The steam then runs an electric generator. Once the steam has been used, it returns to a liquid state, cooled via water piped in from deep below the ocean's surface, he said.

OTE provides financing, design, construction and operation of SWAC and OTEC systems and has offices in Pennsylvania, Virginia, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii and London, according to a news release.

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