> Distributed Power and Seawater Desalination
>Robert Campbell is Vice President, Water Development at Ocean Power
>Corporation, a business established to provide environmentally friendly
>distributed power and water systems that utilize renewable energy
>resources whenever possible.
>The historic trend worldwide has been to produce power at large,
>central plants and to ship it via transmission lines to the consumers.
>Usually, water has been similarly collected at a central site (a lake,
>well, aquifer, river, reservoir, or dam) and transported by canal, pipe,
>truck, or ship to the ultimate consumer, which may be located many
>miles from the source. By contrast, distributed power and seawater
>desalination involves the local production and local consumption of
>both potable water, suitable for drinking, bathing or other uses, and
>useable electric power as well as thermal energy.
>Mr. Campbell has 30 years experience in the high technology sectors of
>the defense electronics industry, is a pioneer in defense conversion, and
>is known worldwide as a pioneer in economic seawater desalination.
>He will describe Ocean Power's plan to combine advanced technologies
>such as Stirling engines, fuel cells, chemical-free water treatment,
>instrumentation, and solar concentrators into integrated systems for
>the economic, profitable and clean generation of distributed power
Mr. Campbell began his talk by explaining that in the early 1990s he had sold his company to TRW, and they had sent him to Egypt to set up an office. While he was there, he had learned that water has enormous political and structural significance there, and he decided to get into the field.
He showed us an organization chart of his company. There was a blue box titled Power Inc., a green box titled Water Inc., and a gray box that represented his creative effort group. He explained that they were all staffed with the best creative minds of the defense industry, as well as some state of the art Scandinavian companies that they had bought when their stock value had been high enough to make that possible. (Before Enron's collapse, it had been around $14/Share. It is currently about 80 cents a share.)
He then showed us pictures of some of their equipment. They have some Stirling engines (six in New Mexico, two in Nevada) that can be run off of solar power during the day and reclaimed methane at night. They have some very state of the art reverse osmosis equipment that has allowed them to bid a desalination project in Monterey Bay at about half a dollar for cubic yard of clean water (when you buy bottled water, you are probably paying about $2000 per cubic yard).
The rest of his talk centered on the Monterey project. They are going to use biomass to run the Stirling engines to pump the water for reverse osmosis, and the surplus heat is going to be used by the new UC Campus to heat buildings in the winter. He thinks they can do it all without causing any environmental damage.