Renewable Energy System Uses Seawater to Cool Buildings

An agreement to construct a SeaWater Air Conditioning system (SWAC) in Curacao was recently signed by Curacao’s electricity company Aqualectra, the local World Trade Center (WTC) and SeaCon International, a subsidiary of Evelop. Seacon is the inventor and developer of the SWAC renewable energy system technology.

SWAC uses water from the ocean depths as a coolant for air conditioning in buildings. With this system it is possible to save up to 20 to 50 percent of current energy costs for cooling — a savings equivalent to Euro 1-2 million [US$1.27 million to $US2.5 million]) per year. “A pipeline will be installed off the coast of Curacao that will extend five kilometers out to sea, reaching a depth of 600 meters. The seawater, which is only 6 degrees C at that depth, will be pumped to a special water station. This low temperature will be transferred to the installation water that runs through the hotels located along the seashore and on to the WTC,” said Dirk Berkhout, director of Econcern. “The installation, which has a design life of 20 years, will break even within 10 years.” Evelop, a subsidiary of Econcern, will invest Euro 15 million [US$19 million] in this air conditioning system project, expected to cool five large buildings within a year and half. It is said to be the first of its type in the Caribbean and South America. The idea of using seawater-based air conditioning has also been applied in Hawaii and in Toronto, Canada. SeaCon is also developing projects in Singapore, Hong Kong and Gibraltar. The SWAC system can be used wherever the sea is sufficiently deep (700 meters) and where there is a steep continental slope from the shore into the ocean.

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