Palau may adopt thermal energy system


The Pacific island nation of Palau may generate all of its energy using an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion system developed by Saga University, according to the Palau government and university sources.

Palau has decided to stop using diesel power stations by 2015 and plans to switch to the cleaner thermal system. Saga University is recognized as a leader in thermal conversion research and technology.

Thermal conversion utilizes the temperature difference between warm surface water and cold deep water to convert solar radiation into electric power. It is hoped that the system will be eco-friendly and will promote sustainable development on the island.

Palau will set up thermal conversion plants at seven locations, with a pilot power plant expected to generate about 3,000 kilowatts by 2005.

The island plans to generate up to 30,000 kw of renewable energy — up from the 20,000 kw produced by diesel generation — by 2015, the sources said.

The plan will be unveiled by Palau President Tommy Remengesau at a two-day international conference on seawater desalination using natural energy that opens Tuesday in the island’s capital of Koror, they said.

In 2001, Remengesau signed an agreement with the university on technological cooperation with regard to thermal conversion technology.

Palau, which has a population of about 20,000, has no natural energy resources. It is also under pressure to promote industrial development before it stops receiving subsidies from the United States in 2009.

Palau was a U.N. Trust Territory under U.S. administration from the end of World War II to 1994.