Lockheed Martin Taps Ocean for Power Under U.S. Navy Contract

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The U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) awarded Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors (MS2) a $4.4 million contract modification to advance the design for an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) pilot plant off the coast of Hawaii.

Under the NAVFAC contract, a Lockheed Martin-led industry team continues to develop critical system components and designs for an OTEC pilot plant, which leverages the temperature difference between warmer water at the ocean’s surface and colder water below to produce clean power.  Unlike other intermittent energy sources, OTEC offers a sustainable baseload power source, available day and night regardless of weather conditions.

Hawaii, like most tropical islands, is heavily dependent on imported oil for their electricity, resulting in costs five times the average mainland prices. In addition, the island is home to many military bases. OTEC can help meet the military’s goal of generating 25 percent of electricity used at its facilities from renewable energy by 2025 and reduce the island’s dependency on fossil fuels.

Lockheed Martin's experience with OTEC technology dates back to the 1970s when the company built “Mini-OTEC.” This early prototype remains the world’s only floating OTEC system to generate power in excess of what is required for self-sustainment. MS2 applies its decades of experience designing and deploying maritime systems for defense markets to ocean power, helping to produce clean energy generation.

This contract modification is an addition to a NAVFAC contract for $8.1 million issued in 2009, resulting in a contract value of $12.5 million.  The Department of Energy awarded Lockheed Martin contracts in 2008 and 2010 to advance OTEC technology.