How can bitcoin (BTC) unlock renewable energy for a billion people? Do you know ETM? Acronym for ocean thermal energy or OTEC (Conversion of thermal energy from the ocean). If you have never heard of it, know that it is originally a French science fiction technology over 150 years old. And this technology could allow Bitcoin to become a renewable energy that could power more than a billion people on earth. As you say. This is what you will discover in this article.
What is OTEC?
OTEC, in English, stands for ocean thermal energy (ETM) or even tidal energy. This is produced by taking advantage of the difference in temperature between the surface waters and the deep waters of the oceans. The European Union uses yet another term: hydrothermal energy to refer to energy stored as heat in surface waters. Due to the surface they occupy, the Earth’s seas and oceans act as a gigantic collector of solar radiation. Although some of this energy is dissipated (currents, waves, friction, etc.), much of it heats the upper layers of the ocean.
This is how on the surface, thanks to solar energy, the temperature of the water is high. It can exceed 25°C in the intertropical zone. And, deep down, deprived of solar radiation, the water is cold. It is around 2 to 4°C, except in closed seas, such as the Mediterranean, whose bottom cannot be “lined” by the “gusts” of cold polar waters that “sink” to the north and south of the Atlantic Ocean, with an average total flow of 25 million cubic meters per second. Also, the cold layers do not mix with the warm ones. In fact, the volumetric density of water increases when the temperature decreases. This prevents deep water from mixing and heating up. This temperature difference can be used by a heat engine. The latter, which needs a cold source and a hot source to produce energy, respectively uses water from the depths and surface water as sources.
A brief history of OTEC, the thermal energy of the seas
The first inventor of OTEC is none other than Jules Verne, in his famous novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. In fact, the genius author had invented technologies many times for his adventure novels. And these same technologies ended up centuries later in the hands of scientists. As early as 1869, Jules Verne referred to the ” surface water and deep ocean water to generate electricity when the hero Pierre Aronnax observes that the Nautilus from Captain Nemo, it runs on electricity with no machinery to power it. It was in 1881 that the French physicist Arsène d’Arsonval first conceptualized this idea. OTEC was born.
“He is a powerful, obedient, fast, easy, adapts to all uses agent who reigns supreme on board. He does everything. He lights me up, he warms me, he is the soul of my mechanical devices. This agent is electricity. Julio Verne.
The various attempts of OTEC…
It was not until the late 1920s, when to meet the growing primary energy needs of industry, that the French engineer Georges Claude, founder of the company Air Liquide, proposed to build a plant using hydrothermal energy for the production of electricity. It was in 1928, in Ougrée in Belgium, that George Claude validated the principle by producing electricity with a 60 kW thermal engine fed with hot water at 33°C drawn from the cooling circuit of a blast furnace and “cold” water at 12°C. pumped from the Meuse. Then other attempts will see the light, with a boom due to the oil crisis of 1973 and that is marked by the construction of the NELH, the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii. And in 1975 in Hawaii a first test of the ETM project was born under the name “Mini-Otec”. Followed in 1979, a financing of a new project called “Otec-1”, which in 1981 uses a water-ammonia exchanger. The countries that have pushed research to the limit are above all Japan and the United States.
Which is the mining bitcoin (BTC)?
In its most abstract form, mining a cryptocurrency consists of providing a service to the cryptocurrency network in exchange for a monetary reward. In the simplest case, the service provided consists of checking the validity of a set of transactions. Each time a set of transactions is committed, it constitutes a block. If this block meets certain criteria specific to the cryptocurrency blockchain, it is added to the top of the chain and the “miner” who made this block is rewarded for their work.
Bitcoin mining, an activity that consumes… a lot of energy
Mining is also a very energy-intensive activity. Sometimes this energy is recovered. This is the case of the city of North Vancouver in Canada, which will be heated by groups of miners. Others use clean energy to reduce electricity consumption in mining. It is estimated that the electricity consumption of all cryptocurrencies would be double that of bitcoin (BTC), i.e. 142 TWh/year on July 1, 2018. BTC alone would consume as much as a country like Finland. However, more and more of the electricity used comes from renewable energies.
Bitcoin, the solution for OTEC!
The problem with OTEC is that it is not profitable… On the island of Kailua in the state of Hawaii, the plant produces electricity that is too expensive for potential buyers… Except… For bitcoin (BTC) miners. In fact, as we have seen before, OTEC uses cold water from the oceans to create electrical energy. However the mining It is an activity that gives off a lot of heat. Thanks to the cold water of the depths, the installation of collectives of miners would be much more profitable. We explain: For BTC miners, this is a blessing. And for OTEC it would be a viable project. In fact, cold water could be used as a coolant. The energy produced could then be used by BTC miners.
Blockchain Solutions Hawaii Bitcoin and OTEC Project
This project is led by Nathaniel Harmon, oceanographer, and founder and CEO of Blockchain Solutions Hawaii. For the Hawaiian archipelago, conventional renewable energy will not be enough in the long term. That’s why Nathanial Harmon decided to merge the mining of bitcoin technology and OTEC. This is even more interesting since it is on the island of Kailua that the first OTEC plant is located. However, this project is only viable in intratropical seas due to the heat of the surface water and its cold temperature at the seabed. But if this project were to take place around the world, nearly a billion people living in these regions could see BTC become their source of electricity!
In short, it is a gigantic potential that could be exploited. The energy of the seas! Jules Verne’s dream. And all this made possible thanks to bitcoin (BTC). This idea, although at the moment in an embryonic state, nevertheless has interesting and attractive features. A technology of the future, which can find its hour of glory.
Source: Bitcoin Magazine
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Student passionate about entrepreneurship and fascinated by the technologies behind cryptocurrencies! Yes, I am convinced that the two are closely related: blockchain and NFT are revolutionizing many sectors and presenting unprecedented opportunities.
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