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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Temperature profile of the ocean seabed from the city of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and preliminary design for a commercial exploitation of cold water to supply for a central air conditioning system

PI: Eduardo David Sagredo Robles (Universidad Tecnologica Santiago)
U.S. Partner: Naphtali David Rishe (Florida International University)
Project Dates: August 2013 to July 2016
 

The team - Oct 2014

The project team on October 17, 2014. (Photo courtesy Prof. Sagredo)
Electricity shortages represent one of the major problems facing the Dominican Republic. For more than 50 years, the country has experienced daily electric power blackouts lasting some four to five hours. The cost of electricity in the Dominican Republic is more than 2.5 times the average cost worldwide, which causes financial hardships not only for the general public but also for operators of the large hotels that contribute substantially to the country's economy. Air conditioning uses approximately 60% of the electricity consumed in tourist areas of the Dominican. Given the high cost of electricity and frequent power outages, implementation of a reliable, renewable, and nonpolluting energy source that can supply air conditioning to these hotels would represent the difference between economic survival versus bankruptcy, with its associated severe impacts on local employment.
 
This PEER Science project is designed to develop a model for how such an energy system could be designed and implemented. Dr. Sagredo and his team will place remote sensors at regular intervals along the sea bed to gather data to create an Ocean Temperature Profile from the city of Puerto Plata extending eight miles north until a depth of 1,000 meters is reached. The data collected will provide input to the design of a pipe along the sea floor that would extract the cold bearing water to the surface at Puerto Plata to provide a cold-water supply for air conditioning. Besides designing the pipe, the researchers will also study potential environmental impacts of their system, as well as optimization of the energy that would be needed to pump the seawater. Once their designs and models are complete, they will share their findings with local stakeholders, including hotel operators and entrepreneurs who might be interested in supporting implementation of the system after the PEER Science project is complete.
 
 
Summary of Recent Activities

2-270 SWAC Hotel Presentation
PI Sagredo presents his project to local hotel managers (Photo courtesy of Prof. Sagredo).
This PEER project is nearing its end as of July 31, 2016, and the PI Dr. Sagredo reports that he and his team have achieved all their objectives. These include (1) creation of a seabed temperature profile from the city of Puerto Plata out to selected end points approximately 7.8 Km from the coastline; (2) collection of sonar seabed floor data along the projected axis for the layout of an extraction pipe, from Punta Cafemba to Point C at sea; and (3) completion of all engineering drawings and calculations to build an extraction pipe, pump house, and water-cooled district cooling system in the city of Puerto Plata. As of mid-July, the only pending activity was the final workshop planned for July 22, 2016, at the UTESA Campus in Puerto Plata. This event will convene stakeholders, including government agency representatives, potential clients, and potential equity investors, to learn more about the team’s research results and opportunities for scaling them up.

During the second quarter of 2016, most of the team’s activities were dedicated to wrapping up their results and preparing detailed scientific and engineering reports and drawings, which were submitted to NAS in the form of a formal five-volume compendium. The PI Dr. Sagredo also met with several key stakeholders in preparation for the July workshop. In April, he visited the Consorcio Energético Punta Cana Macao (CEPM) and a large hotel complex in Puerto Plata, both of which could be potential clients for the district cooling system he and his team are developing. In June he met at the Office of the Ministry of Economic Planning of the Dominican Republic with the director of the World Bank project for the construction of the discharge pipe for sanitary wastewater to the ocean sea bed in Puerto Plata. The PI notes that this project is very important for his applied research due to its similarity to his own work. Later in June he also visited the general manager of SAMASA, the company that is building the discharge pipe for black wastewater in Puerto Plata, another similar project that could offer valuable insights in his work.

Dr. Sagredo has applied for a follow-on grant to the Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America (CEFF-CCA), a program under USAID auspices, in order to conduct a feasibility study. At present, his proposal is being evaluated. Another key milestone for this project has been the development of a novel heat exchanger, for which Dr. Sagredo has twice submitted a patent application. He notes that due to bureaucratic requirements by the Patent Office of the Dominican Republic, he will need to resubmit this application.

Project website
 
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