Electricity is produced at 90.2% of the Carnot efficiency. However, the different pumps use a great-deal of the generated power, as illustrated in Table 4.1 In fact, in this example, 28% of the total power generated is used internally just to run the system. In typical steam engines, pumps are mechanically coupled to the turbine, not electrically as in this OTEC.
The main power consumer is the cold water pump not only because it handles the largest amount of water but also because it has to overcome the friction on the very long cold water pipe.
The electric power generated is
However, the electric power available at the output bus is only
Thus, the overall efficiency of this OTEC is
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The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.