Underwater Hotel in the Final Stages of Planning
How inappropriate to call this Planet Earth when it is quite clearly Planet Ocean” Arthur C. Clarke
Ever been surprised to be surprised? This is the feeling I had when I was introduced to this project recently and the more I investigated, and the more I learnt about the plan, the more inspired I became about the opportunity. My involvement is to specify the Energy Storage and to advise on the Energy generation. In this Blog:
An Underwater Hotel project is presented.
Energy Storage is proposed based on Lithium Ion Chemistries.
Energy generation by one of the four obvious Renewable Energy Technologies is reviewed and an opinion regarding the best option offered and input invited.
As a corollary, there is a brief note on Coral Reef, Electrochemical Restoration.
Possible View from the Guest's Hotel Window (Barrier Reef)
Will we be able to take vacations on Mars or some other celestial body, not any time soon for sure, but the opportunity to be able to stay under the sea is just around the corner. The Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel, the dream child of Tony Webb, is moving forward and based on advanced booking and some modest funding, will become a reality for vacationers in many areas of the World. Key features of the project are as follows:
This is a project that has been in the planning phase for five years and is now at the funding stage.
The first 1100 nights have already been pre-reserved.
The first hotel will debut in Cuba where it has already received US government approval.
Projects are being pursued in other exciting locations including, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Maldives, Cyprus, Thailand and Australasia. Possibilities also exist with Japan, Fiji, Bali, China and the Azores.
The initiative has received some great press including Travel Daily Media, Huffington Post, Fox News, Green Energy News, the Indian “Hindu”, CNBC and the UK Daily Mail.
Investors are needed to complete this dream. Nightly rates and an expected high occupancy, ensure an ROI of five years.
CAPEX and Operational costs have included contingencies and redundancy at every stage of the design and development of this hotel. Insurance for something as unique as this, underwritten by Lloyds of London, is also not inexpensive.
The Red Sea - Egypt
So how is this underwater paradise going to be powered. While a Diesel Generator on the surface may be a necessary backup, such a power source belies the environmental context of this venture. Air cleaning using SAMMS, Water treatment and waste processing will all require power let alone the televisions, lights, stoves, HVAC and hot water. How can these all be powered? Early estimates suggest a daily Energy requirement of 400kWh and the battery storage capacity can easily be specified depending on how much reserve is required. The non-electrolyzing chemistries can easily do the job, with appropriate partition between them and the living accommodation to allay any Safety concerns. And consider, the best way to manage any Lithium Ion thermal runaway is to douse the system with water and there certainly will not be any shortage of that available. Such a battery, for 24 hours Energy Storage, either NMC or LFP would have the following key parameters.
Battery Parameters for two Lithium Ion Energy Storage Options
The above costs include cells and BMS but not final packaging or heat management. As Lithium Ion costs are all over the place these numbers will need firm quotes before they can be considered fully credible numbers.
Storage though, is the easier part of the Energy equation. Energy generation for such an Enterprise is as challenging as it will have to be trail blazing. But again to quote Arthur C, Clarke who was projecting over 50 years ago that there would be underwater hotels early in the 21st century:
"The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible" – Arthur C. Clarke
So, if Diesel is out and land based grid is out that makes one lean in to Renewable Energy where there are four (4) obvious options to consider.
These are summarized in the following table based on the authors understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each. As this is a clearly simplistic perspective all input is very welcome so that these options can be refined towards the right final decision.
Renewable Energy Options Compared
While some locations may lend themselves to shore based solar, in the most part this will not be practical and/or sufficiently reliable. The author leans towards Wave power as the best option. It is not a perfect solution but assuming a sufficiently developed product can be found, it does not appear to have any fundamental show stoppers. Such an application would be an excellent demonstration environment for Wave Power, in a situation that would have close control and oversight. There are many wave energy converter companies who have products at the serious demonstration stage, including Pelamis, Columbia Power Technologies, Corpower Ocean, Resen Waves, Ocean Power and Carnegie Clean Energy.
For the underwater hotel the connections are easier, the cables required less costly and awkward and there will be no building permits required for any land based structures.
Examples of Wave Energy Generators
The underwater hotel is ambitious. The application of renewable energy will certainly complicate it further but not to the point of making the project undoable. An alternative or additional Energy generating need relates to the restoration of the World’s coral reefs that are blighted by the bleaching caused by increases in Ocean temperature resulting from global warming. Dr. Thomas Goreau, President of the, “Global Coral Reef Alliance” has used simple seawater Electrochemistry to produce limestone on artificial structures. Coral grafts can be transplanted onto these structures and reefs can be restored at accelerated growth rates. Dr. Goreau’s work is easily viewed on Youtube and he promotes the use of Wave Energy for the powering of the artificial reef growing process. He specifically mentions the Resen Wave generator. While the underwater hotel may be just that, a luxury hotel for high paying guests, 10% of the revenue generated has been committed to helping fund the Reef restoration project and moreover there may be funding available for underwater laboratory complexes for Marine Biologists to remain on site and therefore work more tirelessly to save the World’s reefs.
Reef restoration using planted corals & Biorock - Pemuteran, Indonesia
A Great Opportunity for the Vacation of a Life Time & Saving the Wolrd's Reefs