Full Circle: HOST Park's OTEC Legacy and Makai's Visionary Pursuit

From its inception as a hub for OTEC research, HOST Park has always been at the heart of oceanic innovation. Today, that legacy continues with pioneers like Michael Eldred, Director, Heat Exchanger Development at Makai Ocean Engineering. With HOST Park's unique resources and unwavering support, Eldred and his team harness the oceans' energy, exemplifying the very essence of NELHA's mission since its foundation. Dive into this success story to witness a journey from vision to achievement.

Michael Eldred
Director, Heat Exchanger Development | Makai Ocean Engineering
Video Transcript

The world's oceans is essentially a battery, you know, it's a stored energy, and the way that that is created is there's just, the sun is constantly shining on the top surface and warming up, and that creates that change in temperature, the delta T that we need to produce electricity, and that's happening across the ocean every single day, all day long.

I'm Michael Eldred and I'm the director for OTEC Heat Exchanger research for Makai. I'm also the chief engineer for the OTEC facility. Makai Ocean Engineering is a group of people that are really seeking challenges to solve the hardest problems in the world. I consider us a sort of elite group of engineers that are really challenged to find technical solutions.

The service that NELHA provides us is crucial for our development. We couldn't be here without it, and especially because the warm sea water and cold sea water is the foundation of an OTEC technology. We also just need the support that NELHA provides us for being able to create new things and, and come up with new ideas and implement them, and having the tools that we have here is what has ultimately allowed us to succeed at our work.

I have to say that one of my favorite parts of working here is the people that work at NELHA are so helpful and happy to do, and to be there for us and to help us out. It's really an important part of it for me. I mean, I like the people here.

My work here in Kona is to develop the OTEC system. We've shown that the system works, it produces electricity. And now the question is, okay, how do we make that a competitive energy technology around the world? And after a lot of hard work, we finally accomplished what we set out to do, and that was to develop our new heat exchanger technology, which sort of what we believe unlocks the economic OTEC problem. And that's really the main thing is that for us to prove through demonstration and through empirical data that we can produce electricity for a low cost, a competitive with wind and solar. 

You know, I like to proceed with caution when we talk about, ocean energy development because it's an important thing for us to become sustainable, but it also, we have to do it responsibly. All the technologies of the world that you know, we could be using in the ocean regarding energy OTEC and wave and offshore wind are those, you know, candidate technologies. They can have a big impact on the ocean. What's really important is our relationships with each other and, you know, having a relationship to nature and, and, and living more sustainably.

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