Ocean thermal energy resources in Colombia

Andrea Devis-Morales, Raúl A. Montoya-Sánchez, Andrés F. Osorio, Luis J. Otero-Díaz

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Colombia's exclusive location surrounded by the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean Sea and the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean make it a suitable region for ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC). These are systems that can produce significant amounts of renewable electricity. From the assessment of the temperature gradient and the bathymetric, environmental and socio-economical characteristics, the maritime area around the island of San Andres (in the northwestern Caribbean Sea) was found to be ideal for an OTEC facility since sea surface temperature varies only slightly during annual and interannual timescales. The thermal difference encountered from the surface to a depth of 1000m is always around 22°-24°C and cold waters are available for intake at around 450-750m, within a short horizontal distance from the coast (less than 2.5km). At these depths, the 20°C thermal gradient required for OTEC operations is achieved. Furthermore, winds, waves and surface currents around the island are of relatively weak intensity. Presently, energy sources based entirely on Diesel generators are inducing negative impacts on the sustainable development of the region and on the fragile marine ecosystem. An environmentally friendly 10MW OTEC facility could be part of future energy and water management solutions for the island. It would cover nearly 50% of total electricity demands and provide important additional advantages such as chilled soil agriculture, aquaculture, freshwater, mariculture and seawater air conditioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-769
Number of pages11
JournalRenewable Energy
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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