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Fresh Water from the Sea and Other Uses of Deep-Ocean Water for Sustainable Technologies

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Everyone and everything needs fresh water, and many sources of this precious commodity are in peril. In coastal areas, desalination of ocean water is an option, but it can be expensive, consume power, and generate waste. In recent times, the idea that the oceans can provide an “endless bounty” has been called into serious question with such evidence as the collapse of many fisheries and the growth of “dead zones” from waste and nutrient runoff. However, one resource of the ocean that may be practically inexhaustible is its reservoir of cold. Drawn from a thousand meters or more from the surface, Deep Ocean Water (DOW), barely above the freezing point, can be used in many ways, among them condensing fresh water from humid air in tropical environments. This fresh water resource requires little energy to produce, requires no chemicals, and produces no waste. It is most suitable for use in tropical islands and coastal deserts, which are generally near a source of cold ocean water, have warm, humid air, and little available fresh water. Further, there are other uses for the cold of DOW, enhancing agriculture in some surprising ways, and even supporting aquaculture. The Common Heritage Corporation of Hawai'i is investigating economically feasible development of this resource and other DOW technologies around the world.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2007

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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