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Multi Purpose Seawater Power Station



Update 2008
Yanbaru, Okinawa World's First Sea Water Pumped Storage Station is on-line!

Hydroelectric Power Generation.
On-Line Operation of Adjustable-Speed System for Okinawa Yanbaru Seawater Pumped Storage Power Plant.

The Okinawa Yanbaru Seawater Pumped Storage Power Plant has been completed in the northern part of the main island of Okinawa Prefecture by the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). This facility, the first seawater hydroelectric power plant in the world, has been in operation since March 1999. Toshiba supplied the adjustable-speed system to the project as the fifth set of its kind, making our company the world's most experienced manufacturer. The applications of this adjustable-speed system will expand in the future, to encompass not only pumped storage power plants but also small and medium-size hydroelectric power plants and power system facilities. (author abst.)

Multi Purpose Seawater Power Station

A Multi-Purpose Seawater Power Station incorporates a new type of pumped-storage. Ideally it requires a renewable energy source to fill it up - but like traditional pumped-storage we can continue to use fossil. The upper pond stores this energy as potential - and when requested can produce on-demand hydro-electricity. This process approaches 80% efficiency. In liew of the energy loss, the role of  pumped-storage fulfills a job - and supplies electricity on-demand - jumping in to assist the load - which helps balance the grid - which equates to you having hot showers when you want.

Seawater-pumped-storage is renewable - pumped-storage is not - and when combined with desalination seawater-pumped-storage can make fresh water. As a new multi-purpose device the income is supported by more than one income stream - continues to support the grid - and also supports large scale storage for renewables.

This interesting potential of MP-SPS also provides a methodology of change
- a bridge to sustainability -
by allowing a change-over-time adapting from fossil to renewable since the input is variable.

Seawater Power Cycle

This conceptual diagram represents the ecologically sustainable and renewable seawater-cycle-process
- at the heart is Japans' Okinawa Yanbaru project -
A feasibility study is required to unravel the interconnectedness and establish best procedures.

* It's important to note MP-SPS can run on any energy source which includes fossil,
but the infrastructure is such that it allows a planned change-over-period.
In short we can build it now using todays technology and fuels
and slowely change over to renewables when ready.
At some point it becomes all green.

Pictured is Okinawa Yanbaru eco power plant project in Japan, World's First high head seawater pumped storage.
Okinawa Yanbaru
Model eco hydro power plant of the 21st Century.
This link does not work anymore but the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has it!

Multi Purpose Seawater Power Station

A large scale man-made seawater pumped storage (as above) is not a dam in the conventional sense because it does not withhold any natural water flow from the land - also it is much smaller - it can be a pond. A pond can contain fish and also be a tourist attraction since the environment pictured here is beautifully preserved.

*As a pumped storage device it produces on-demand hydro electricity.
*As a seawater hydro and/or hydraulic reverse osmosis desalination plant processes the renewable working fluid into potable water.
*As a multi-purpose device it can provide energy storage - large scale - for renewables like wind.

The cost structure is dependant upon many factors like the on-demand market price for electricity and what it's worth as storage for intermittent renewables at this time... but Bill Gates thought 640k was a lot, at the time.

Unlike most businesses the bottomline for pumped storage is a service. It's a necessary part of life if we want our showers with hot water "now". And what are we willing to pay for this service? Well, we are paying for it now so that's a given. What we are not paying for is the cost of cleaning up the pollution that has given us hot showers.

Using seawater as the working fluid is renewable as opposed to continuing to use the limited supply of fresh water which would appear to be a step in the right direction. But it cannnot compete with some of the newer sea going inventions like Energetech which uses wave power at zero cost. But wave machines do not store energy, pumped storage does. And so it is quite complimentary.

No doubt there's a cheaper way of saving the world from Climate Change but as yet, I don't see a plan. We need water and renewable technologies still require backup and storage. Could this be the glue or the hub - a piece of the pie?

An MP-SPS is a multi-purpose device that allows - to alter its' "investment and produce" - swapping from electricity to water to renewable storage. Naturally, as a multi purpose device it bares a premium cost compared to the prior hydro stations that have been costed to do one thing - ie. one machine doing one job. In the past separate machines made electricity OR water - not electricity AND water. In the future we can save energy and costs by having machines that do both - and without CO2 pollution.

*no cost for the working fluid - seawater - only maintenance and running costs.
*salt waste can be managed
*possible carbon credit offset.
*any renewables like wind or solar are ideal.

Bottomline, it will require some effort rather than a nuclear quick fix - probably on the scale of Snowy Hydro by placing MP-SPS's strategically in place. Australia is ideally situated as an island surrounded by water with communities living on the coast - each community could have one storing local renewable energy and making power and water.

An MP-SPS requires a feasibility study to determine practicality and costs on a site by site basis.
It can be thought of as scaleable, small community to large scale.

A Road Map to Ecological Sustainable Renewable Water and Energy
In this age, scientists and inventors are scrambling to solve the riddle of the sustainability. This is one method that may prove to be worthwhile - time and a feasability study and people will tell.

In the meanwhile I present this road map to ecological sustainable renewable water and energy in the form of multi purpose seawater hydro technology that is capable of producing sustainable on-demand hydro electricity, on-demand fresh drinking water, backup storage for renewables and in the fore-see-able future, on-demand green hydrogen.
And one other important difference that makes
seawater hydro different from all the rest
Multi Purpose Sea water Power Station

* On the left we have the input. Any energy source that can make electricity can be used to pump seawater up into the pond. As a pumped storage device it depends upon being filled up by external means.

* Please consider that no matter what sort of energy is used to fill up, the MP-SPS always produces green energy (taking into account the change-over period from fossil to renewable). Technically it is not green unless it is filled by renewable means.

There is a loss of energy in the exchange (some 15-20%) but a gain of control of time thus enabling MP-SPS to produce on-demand electricity whenever it is called for, which has a gain in value.

* On the right the seawater falls to produce on-demand electricity and utilizes the pressure to perform scientific acrobatics like turning turbines, desalination (either by pressure-reverse-osmosis and/or
steam-distillation) and the latest "electrolysis" to split the water into it's 2 parts, hydrogen and oxygen. Since hydrogen is the oil of the future, we're not looking too shabby.

Ostensibly the beauty lies in the multi arrangement that accomodates multi products and services under the umbrella of a seawater power station. F
or example, focussing seawater under great pressure is an extraodinary and specialized powerful cutting tool. A multi environment could provide a park and a number of people services that only a sustainable renewable facility like this can provide.

It is interesting to note that this sort of facility has never existed, since seawater has never been stored above sea level, hence new products and services are yet to reveal themselves.

Road Map

I wish to bring to your attention a “road map to ecological sustainable renewable water and energy” with an introduction of a new "seawater hydro technology" which sits at the heart of a "multi purpose station" and producer of hydro-electricity, fresh drinking water and in the fore-see-able future, green hydrogen.
The grid uses hydro-electricity produced from dams and pump stations. Pumped storage PS(1) stores excess energy for later use, and has provided on-demand electricity for over 100 years. The 25-year Yanbaru eco project in Okinawa is the world’s first high head renewable Seawater Pumped Storage Power Plant SPS(2), with several more planned - currently powered by thermal and gas turbine. In Australia we can use grid or clean coal(3) or any green energy. Using seawater instead of fresh water in pumped storage completely reconfigures the process. The resultant is renewable seawater hydropower that when melded with desalination eliminates the wait for rain and removes the limitation of a limited fresh water supply.

Because it’s renewable and seawater, not only can SPS supply the same on-demand hydro-electricity service as PS, but also maintains the same gas or coal-fired cost infrastructure. A multi purpose SPS has available “seawater and electricity” to desalinate. Using a seawater power stations’ own energy to desalinate its’ own seawater can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A multi purpose Geothermal SPS adds heat that is required to manufacture green “A” grade hydrogen using electrolysis(4).

The ratio of electricity and water produced co-existing in the same multi facility is interwoven with 2 or more income streams. This is a major advantage over conventional desalination systems because “when the drought is over” MP-SPS can stop making water and produce electricity. Ideally by that stage, appropriate green energy sources have matured.

MP-SPS is in itself a green producer. As the grid operator’s coordinate coal and renewable sources in the electricity pool(5), over time it is viable MP-SPS becomes 100% sustainable renewable. Conversely most green energy sources, solar wind and waves are conditional upon the weather. To achieve uninterrupted power they require back up and/or storage. MP-SPS is that Large Scale sustainable backup & storage solution for any energy source.

With water and hydrogen distribution taken into strategic account and right placement to available solar or tide or wind or hot rocks etc. MP-SPS becomes an attractor elevated to the centrepiece of sustainability. Leveraging on-site eco energy from the onset will be determined by feasibility studies.

A multi purpose seawater power station solves immediate water shortages in Australia(6), long-range electricity production; future green hydrogen; supports greenhouse gas emissions quotas and protocols; and addresses Climate Change.

Placed strategically around the coast of Australia, MP-SPS creates a sustainable renewable heart pumping green on-demand electricity on-demand fresh water and on-demand hydrogen, and paves the road map to a clean green future.

Fossil power stations and oil driven cars account for the majority of all greenhouse gas emission worldwide(7). The United States 2006 Energy Budget is $23.4 billion(8). The US Hydrogen incentive is $1.2 billion(9). Development of this technology in Australian is purposeful for Australia and exportable. We can lead.

This most urgent road map, which addresses the imminent water shortage also delivers a long range planned changeover to green electricity, a green hydrogen future potential and the well being of Sydney and Australia.


(1). PS - Pumped-storage.
(2). SPS - Okinawa Yanbaru Japan seawater pumped-storage power plant.
(3). US DOE - Healy Clean Coal Project.
(4). Hydrogen Facts.
(5). The grid pool.
(6). Farmhand - Australia’s Water – The Facts.
(7). US Energy Information - Emissions of Greenhouse Gases
(8). United States - DOE Energy Budget.
(9). United States - 1.2 billion Hydrogen Initiative.
(10). Greenpeace Australia on hydro
(11). Desalination info.\FileUpload77\927\DESALINATION_PAPER.pdf
(12). United Nations Freshwater 2003.

Multi Purpose Sea water Power Station