Newquay-based Global OTEC Resources has received a £140,000 grant to help develop the company’s concept for using ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).

OTEC is a technology for converting some of the energy that the tropical oceans absorb from the sun, first into electricity and then into fuels.

The grant has been awarded by Marine-i, an innovative collaboration focusing on Cornwall’s marine sector which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The technology will especially be developed for “offgrid” resorts in the Maldives and Caribbean.

Dan Grech, managing director of Global OTEC Resources, said: “We are working with a number of luxury resorts to introduce ocean thermal energy conversion. Other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar have not been proven as viable for meeting the energy demand of these resorts.

“Consequently, most are currently burning thousands of litres of diesel daily (which has the disadvantage of high carbon emissions as well as volatile costs) so there is strong interest in looking at an alternative form of renewable energy – our new concept meets their needs.

“The next stage is to design a fully costed business model over the next six months. We are expecting to be ready to build our first ocean thermal energy systems at resorts in the Maldives within two years.”

Matt Hodson, operations director at Marine Hub Cornwall, said: “Global OTEC Resources is an example of the new wave of marine technology businesses now being attracted to Cornwall.

“The company is dynamic and ambitious, with a clear view of the global market it plans to target. Marine-i is delighted to help Global OTEC Resources move their business to the next stage and exploit worldwide markets.”

Global OTEC Resources will work with technology partners DWR Offshore and Skentel to deliver the project.

Richard Argall, lead OTEC engineer, said the company has a “flexible and modern approach” to commercialising OTEC.

He added: “I’ve been involved in several projects in the last decade and a half with others who have tried valiantly to get huge OTEC developments off the ground.

“This project takes a sensible approach de-risking the technology, starting with small scale niche applications like remote island communities and that gives it a stronger chance of success.”