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Prove this wrong with the laws of thermodynamics

  1. Jun 14, 2003 #1
    How to prove this wrong with the laws of thermodynamics?

    Since our ocean has a huge amount of thermal energy ... Why is it not possible to put this thermal energy into useful work?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 14, 2003 #2
    Actualy it is possible

    and people have tried to exploit ocean thermal energy, but it is very low grade so it requires large equipment and sea water is very corrosive which makes it not very feasible.
  4. Jun 14, 2003 #3
    Re: Thermodynamics

    all the thermodynamic books i have read tell me that this is immpossible. we have (and never expect to observe) the spontanious release of energy from an cool object to a warmer object. i believe i heard that someone did the calculations and it turned out that we will observe a single monkey on a single typewriter type the complete works of shakespear apox.100,000,000 times in succession (without error) before we ever observe the above mentioned effect. and even if we could, we wouldn't. lowering the temerature of the ocean would increase the amount of ice in the polars and lower the ocean depth.
  5. Jun 14, 2003 #4
    Re: Re: Thermodynamics

    Maximus, the ocean has many regions where relatively warm water overlays much colder water and people have actualy built plants that use this temperature difference. But they haven't proved economic because of construction and maintainence costs.
  6. Jun 14, 2003 #5
    i do not doubt it, tyger. but does my statement not hold true?
  7. Jun 14, 2003 #6
    But that wasn't what he was asking. He was asking if it were possible to use the ocean's heat as an energy source. Tyger had the right answer. You can exploit it with temperature differentials but at this point the technology makes it inefficent.
  8. Jun 15, 2003 #7
    Well how about just in general? Why is it not possible to make use of the thermal energy?
  9. Jun 15, 2003 #8
    your question is so vague it is difficult to answer it all at once. yes, it is possible to use thermal energy. geothermal power plants have the sole purpose of converting the earth's natural thermal energy into electricity. and as tyger said, so do ocean plants. your body makes use of thermal energy, as well as a cold blooded reptile. basically every engine uses thermal energy in some form. but my above post still holds true. we cannot take the energy from a cooler substance into a warmer substance. this violates the second law of thermodynamics.
  10. Jun 15, 2003 #9


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    Staff: Mentor

    If the question is still about the ocean, the answer is still the same - the efficiency would be so low as to make it impossible to get a useful amount of energy from it.
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