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Keywords:

  • Equivalent Gibbs systems;
  • dynamic modelling;
  • Rankine cycle;
  • ocean thermal energy conversion;
  • Réunion Island;
  • renewable energy

SUMMARY

Reunion Island is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, but seeks to become energy self-sufficient by 2025. ocean thermal energy conversion provides a means of producing electricity that harnesses the available energy of the ocean by using the temperature gradient between its deep and its upper layers. This paper presents the projected experimental facility which is to be installed at the University of St. Pierre on Reunion Island. A dynamic model of the installation has been developed (on a Delphi interface) by using the concept of equivalent Gibbs systems. In such equivalent system, mass, energy, and entropy are linked through the Gibbs equation, and the entropy production can easily be expressed in terms of fluxes and their related forces. Assuming linear phenomenological laws, the phenomenological coefficients are assessed from technical data. Using a digital tool (Genopt), an optimization study has been conducted in order to determine the best operating parameters according to the temperature of the sea water. This model allows us to anticipate the potential of this technology on Reunion Island. Once validated on the facility, the model will serve as a tool to assist design of the future 10 MW pilot plant planned for 2014. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.