I am back on the mainland and it has been a crazy week trying to battle jet lag and catching up on things, but I have one more environmental post for y’all. One of the last days I was in Hawaii, I visited the Natural Energy Lab near Kona. The lecture I attended was called Ocean matters and it talked about the many different ways that the lab uses the ocean to become more sustainable. The guide covered all topics from aquaculture to new species discovered on site. My favorite piece of information I gathered was the OTEC technology. First off, my favorite scientist of all time, Nikola Tesla, worked with this technology, so it was already the coolest thing ever. The system uses 6 foot wide pipes that carry the ocean’s water in a cycle of evaporation and condensation to create energy. The only requirement is that there is a 40 degree temperature difference between the top and bottom levels of the water. It seems like a viable clean energy source in the future for a lot of laces like Hawaii. One problem with it, however, is the corrosion from the salt water. Once scientists figure that out, there is a world of possibilities.
Some other cool things I learned during my visit were that there was a totally new species discovered, fish can be farmed in cages and have no impact on the environment, and the building I was in was cooled by sea water air conditioning! Lots of cool things. The new animal that was discovered was called a mastigoteuthis sp and is half squid, half octopus. Go and check it out for yourself! The fish are farmed in movable cages and are specifically bred in those cages so that they do not interact with any outside fish. The sea water air conditioning uses the cold air to cool the outside air in cooling coils and then gets pumped into the room. Once all the cold air fills the room, it is heated by the solar panels and leaves through a large vent at the top of the building. Very impressive engineering!
Anyway, I’m sorry it took so long, but things happen. I didn’t take any pictures while I was there, so this is all I’ve got for you. I hope you found it interesting!