Lockheed Martin Receives $1Million Grant For Ocean Energy Research
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) gave two grants totaling $1 million to Lockheed Martin to determine the possibility of harnessing energy found between the hot and cold spots of oceans to generate electricity on a large scale commercial level.
Unlike previous ocean energy grants which have primarily focused on harnessing tidal waves and currents, Lockheed’s research will be based on thermal variances as an energy source of their own, referred to as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Technology (OETC).
Lockheed Martin’s team of scientists and engineers will use half of the money received to develop OETC software and tools that allow them to quickly find these thermal areas of the ocean and accurately assess them for their potential as renewable-energy sources.
The second grant being given to Lockheed will be strictly for their financial team who will be putting together a financial package of cost estimates based on their research on these hot and cold ocean spots. Lockheed Martin will need to determine the scalability, cost, performance, and ultimate potential for large-scale use and commercialization of OTEC technology, all to be included in the package.
An OTEC system uses the temperature difference between solar-warmed surface water and cold, deep water to run a heat engine, which produces electricity. Because the sun continually warms the planet’s oceans, this technology could serve as an inexpensive, clean, renewable source of energy.
This $1 million is merely the latest in a series of grants being awarded to the company. It was awarded $8.12 million last year by the Department of Defense to develop OTEC system components and an OTEC pilot plant.
Clean energy initiatives continue to take preference for funding through the federal government as the need for environmentally sound practices becomes more imminent. President Barack Obama recently approved the DOE budget for the 2011 fiscal year in which they will receive 28.4 billion, including $2.36 billion for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).