Survey of Energy Resources 2007
OTEC Country Notes
Research and development on OTEC and DOWA has been carried out since 1974 by various organisations (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Association of Japan; Ocean Energy Application Research Committee, supported by the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy; Japan Marine Science and Technology Center, Deep Seawater Laboratory of Kochi; Research Institute for Ocean Economics and Toyama prefectural government; Saga University; Electrotechnical Laboratory and Shonan Institute of Technology).
Saga University conducted the first OTEC power generation experiments in late-1979 and in early-1980 the first Japanese experimental OTEC power plant was completed in Imari City.
During the summer months of 1989 and 1990 an artificial up-welling experiment was conducted on a barge anchored on the seabed at 300 m offshore in Toyama Bay.
With the establishment in 1988 of the OTEC Association of Japan, now the Japan Association of Deep Ocean Water Applications (JADOWA), the country has placed greater emphasis on products that use deep ocean water in the manufacturing process. Such products (food and drink, cosmetics and salt) have all proved commercially successful.
In March 1996, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Saga University and the National Institute of Ocean Technology of India. The two bodies have been collaborating on the design and construction of a 1 MW plant to be located off the coast of Tamil Nadu in India.
In mid-2003 Saga University's Institute of Ocean Energy (IOES) inaugurated a new research centre for the study of OTEC.
During 2003 it was reported that Saudi Arabia had shown great interest in working with Saga University to develop the Kingdom's OTEC potential.
If the OTEC projects the university is helping to implement are proved to be viable, the enormous potential of Japan's own EEZ could be exploited in the future.