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Michael Hayes

May 30, 2015


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The below is a copy of a comment offered to Jim Baird on his proposal found at: Hello Jim, Your proposal hits on a large number of important technologies and your writing is clear. I would like to offer a few technical points which may fit into the scenario you're proposing. 1) Up-welling of electrolized H2 will produce significant pressure within the up-welling pipe head and thus the pressurized H2 (kenetics) can be used to energize a sizable desalinization operation. It is a 2-for-1 opportunity. In brief, up-welling of gas within a pipe creates an 'air lift pump'. As I'm sure you recognize, this will create a head pressure which can be used for multiple cultivation and processing/refining operations. See below link. 2) The 'perpetual salt fountain' concept is related to this overall up-welling issue and offers important insights about up-welling. See link below. And, it has been found that the above form of up-welling will cause CO2 out-gassing and production of CO2 via dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) reacting with surface dynamics. 3) The up-welling of artificially warmed fluids, if not within an a well insulated pipe, will warm the local water column and thus create an external (un-confined) up-welling of CO2/DIC rich water. Thus, the final carbon foot print may be larger than what is accounted for within the process. 4)Shunting the out-gassed/produced CO2 into sealed chemosynthetic cultivation tank farms will allow for the utilization/sequestration of much of the generated CO2. The excess CO2 not used bythe cultivation effort can be sequestered through multiple paths. However, it is important that we utilize the CO2 to the fullest extent possible with sequestration being the last option. 5) Further, electrolysis of saltwater produces significant amounts of chlorine gas which will need to be captured and properly used/stored. The upper atmospheric chemistry is highly sensitive to chlorine and unchecked chlorine production/release can devastate the ozone layer in short order. 6) Electrolysis of seawater to create 'Biorock' is a good reference when working in this overall field. Dr. Wolf Hillbertz foresaw much of the 'Multi-Purpose OTEC' potential back in the 1970-1980s. A link to one of his papers is included below. (Please see Fig. 30) 7) You have speculated that "It would take therefore a full war time effort the rest of this century to reach OTEC’s full potential.". Many in the OTEC field have the same view. However, it may be possible to see robust OTEC usage in far less time if the focus of the OTEC development is first applied to off-shore biomass production, which can produce carbon negative portable biofuels/biochar, food, feed, etc., with on-shore grid support as a secondary priority. 8) The oxyhydrogen reaction in algae (chemosynthesis) uses hydrogen to replace the need for photosynthesis in some species of micro-algae and thus production of hydrogen is a needed component to a vast scale carbon negative biofuel/biochar scenario. Currently, many who are waking up to the value of chemosynthesis are calling for liberating the H2 from the biomass via hydrothermal conversion of the biomass. I, however, recommend the use of an advanced perpetual salt fountain which uses heat and electrolysis for many of the reasons you have detailed. 9) By focusing solely upon feeding the on-shore electrical grid, the OTEC operations profits, and thus operations, are dependent upon high $bbl prices. It is possible that fracking will keep energy prices far below what typical OTEC needs as a competitive price for the foreseeable future. In conclusion, I enjoyed reading your well informed proposal and found your focus upon the existential threat of deep ocean thermal inertia to be spot on. Also, thank you for the 'Solomon et al' paper (I thought I had read all of her works!). Part of the work I'm pulling together under the IMBECUS Protocol attempts to address the ocean thermal problem set through the deployment of vast scale ocean biomass production platforms which can also function as vast scale surface cooling platforms in association with other cooling methods such as Marine Cloud Brightening. In short, deep-welling cold pH adjusted water while up-welling nutrients, CO2 for use in the production of carbon negative biofuels/biochar hits on the majority of the critical key issues which are critical to our survival. Thank you for your work, Michael