Located on the Equator, the settlements of Aquarius will face a serious challenge in maintaining a cool environment for residents. Two aspects of the architectural design of the full-scale colony structures are intended to deal with this. One is the use of an all-over garden cover, which not only creates an attractive naturalistic environment while producing some food, but also shades the colony from the sun and moderates humidity. The other is the use of a unified terraced mountain-form superstructure with all residences built into the edges of each structural terrace, with windows and enclosure panels well recessed from the edges. This effectively puts all the functional spaces of the colony ‘under ground’, making the most of that plant cover and the latent thermal mass of the concrete superstructure. In addition to this, the use of OTEC on such large scales as these colonies will employ will generate a micro-climate effect in the area around them, reducing ambient temperatures and possibly triggering natural cloud formation where a number of colonies are in close proximity. (though not likely to be rain-bearing) But in spite of all this, it is very likely that these settlements will require an active means of cooling and, given the large scale of these communities, a far more efficient technology for this than is common.
Early settlements are likely to rely heavily on the conventional technology of ductless heat pump air conditioning based on using centralized heat pump units linked by a plumbing network to a series of registers. This is the most efficient of electric-powered air conditioning commonly available. Some settlements will also employ solar powered air conditioning, which functions much like evaporative coolers but with an active dehumidifying of air in the system through a solar-thermal recycled desiccant. This is more energy efficient but hampered in practical use by complex bulky equipment. But with the introduction of OTEC power a vast source of cold will be provided to colonies from the cold deep seawater drawn up in huge volumes by these plants. This will allow for the implementation of a colony-wide radiant cooling system based on a diversion of some of this water to local heat exchangers linked by small scale plumbing to a series of radiant coil arrays akin to that of radiant floor heating but installed in the ceilings of spaces, using a variation of systems already developed for this purpose for conventional office drop ceilings. This would be combined in some cases with small-tube-high-velocity ducted HVAC that would integrate a compressed air system with additional heat exchangers and heat pumps that could provide additional spot cooling or heating or serve as the basis of ‘air curtains’ in areas with large open portals.
This is currently well proven technology, however the colonies of Aquarius will be implementing it on a scale never-before seen and will realize a tremendous economy in energy spent on cooling. Radiant cooling will also turn the colony into an enormous dehumidifier, adding to the already copious supply of fresh water provided by OTEC and possibly allowing some OTEC plants to employ closed-cycle systems for a greater output in power.
- Pneumatically Stabilized Platforms - PSP
- Sea Towers
- Aquarian Digital Infrastructure
- Large Area Cast Acrylic Structures
- Polyspecies Mariculture
- Free-Range Fish Farming
- Terra Preta
- Cold-Bed Agriculture
- Small Space Animal Husbandry
- Tidal/Wave/Current Systems
- Algae-Based Biofuel Systems
- Vanadium Redox Systems
- Hydride Storage Systems
- Next-Generation Hydrogen Storage
- Alternative Hydrolizer Systems
- Supercritical Water Oxidation
- Plasma Waste Conversion