Ocean Thermal Energy

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Oceans cover more than 70% of Earth's surface, making them the world's largest solar collectors. The sun's heat warms the surface water a lot more than the deep ocean water, and this temperature difference creates thermal energy. Just a small portion of the heat trapped in the ocean could power the world.

The ocean can produce two types of energy: thermal energy from the sun's heat, and mechanical energy from the tides and waves. Ocean thermal energy is used for many applications, including electricity generation. Ocean mechanical energy is quite different from ocean thermal energy.

Even though the sun affects all ocean activity, tides are driven primarily by the gravitational pull of the moon, and waves are driven primarily by the winds. As a result, tides and waves are sporadic sources of energy, while ocean thermal energy is fairly constant. Also, unlike thermal energy, the electricity conversion of both tidal and wave energy usually involves mechanical devices.

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