The notes from Xxxxx Xxxxxx new high tech compressor group
have asked the question if there isn't anything else we could make in Olean
during slow times to take up the slack.
According to the most recent financial status report given to
its employees, Xxxxxxx-Xxxx is encountering problems adjusting to a shrinking
global market; a situation which has been exacerbated by a deep worldwide
Unquestionably, problems have been caused by this not only for
Xxxxxxx-Xxxx but for many other major corporations as well. On the
other hand it is clear to me as a relative newcomer to this organization
that the company is suffering even more from some fixed ideas concerning
exactly what and where its markets are and moreover, from the notion that
the future of the organization rests on circumstances and actions dictated
by forces and individuals outside the company. It has been accepted without
question that all of the existing American oil fields have been tapped
and that our markets relate primarily to the development of new oil fields
and the servicing of old fields which lie primarily outside of the United
As it happens, there is another market and a much larger market
that has never been exploited by anyone. It is a market which could
employ not only all of the workers in Olean, but one significant enough
to employ all of the resources of the entire Xxxxxxx family of companies
and one which would probably restore 1950's level of prosperity to the
Xxxxxxx-Xxxx is in the energy business. To date this
has involved primarily moving petro products from oil fields. On
the other hand, it needs to be recognized that it does not really matter
to Xxxxxxx-Xxxx or the ultimate customers where this energy comes from.
It only matters that it is available and that it can be transported to
the public, preferably using existing distribution systems.
There is no name or word in our language for what I am about
to propose to you but it could perhaps best be described as an "Energy
Ship" or an "Energy City." Such a ship has some pretty amazing properties.
It does not rely on oil fields, polluting technology, fickle foreign governments
or even our own government for its success, not only because there is a
desperate need for the "energy city" but because it is inherently non-polluting
and because the energy city is totally portable. If they don't want
it in Los Angeles there are plenty of other cites who will take it with
no questions asked.
I would like you to imagine something which looks something like
the proverbial flying saucer about half submerged in the water. Imagine
it anchored 20 miles out to sea. From that distance it could
not even be seen from the shore, yet it would be capable of providing all
of the electricity, water and gas required for a great city.
The Energy Ship would pump water up from deep in the ocean where
it may reach temperatures close to the freezing point. Since the surface
water may be 40 or 50 degrees warmer there is a sufficient difference
in temperature to cycle a refrigerant through a turbine and generate electricity.
This, in turn may be used to create hydrogen gas, fresh water, various
metals by electrolysis, and, of course, may be sold in its own right though
generally it would prove more profitable to sell the hydrogen gas and water.
Technically, this is known as ocean thermal energy conversion.
Such devices have already been built and tested. One such device
was constructed and operated successfully near the island of Cuba by Georges
Claude in the 1920's. Given the advances in materials and technology,
not to mention the increasing costs of conventional fuels and pollution
which have occurred since that time, there is every reason to believe these
ideas would be even more practical now.
Basically, this is a solar energy process and an extraordinarily
viable one. It has been estimated that the waters off the coast of
Florida alone could easily supply 50 to 100 times the current energy requirements
of the United States.
Imagine then the half submerged flying saucer mentioned previously.
Though this would be constructed in modules over a period of years, imagine
it as being done. Imagine it as being the largest single structure
ever built by man. Imagine a structure which is not only an energy
producer but a busy and viable "machine city" in its own right. Think
of it as being one of the most visited tourist meccas in the world; a virtual
paradise for boaters, fishermen and scuba divers. Think of it as
being a busy international shipping port and business center. Think of
it as being one of the most desirable places to live and work in the entire
Now look inside. See a new line of Xxxxxx vapor turbines
connected to the huge generators. Imagine the largest electrolysis
plant which has ever been built. See Xxxxxx compressors and boosters
moving hydrogen gas through a seabed pipeline in quantities sufficient
to supply a Los Angeles, a Hong Kong or a Singapore. See the Xxxxxxx
desalination process being used to provide fresh water to a world running
out of it. In fact, as you imagine what this great Energy City would
look like, it should be possible to see that the output of every single
Xxxxxxx company, every single manufacturing, engineering and contracting
organization could be involved in this and not only in the construction
of just this one energy ship, but the hundred or more ships this world
will need during the early part of the next century alone.
Next, go back in time and imagine the venture being formed.
Imagine the multitude of investors who would make such a project very practical
to begin. Consider the commercial investors, oil companies who know
their resource is running out and creating problems which will ultimately
lead to the extinction of their market. Consider the great shipbuilding
interests that would not only like to do part of the work but which would
be interested in owning part of the city. Consider the contracting
firms, the electric utilities, the multitude of private investors looking
for any viable investment. Consider the multitude of hotel and retail establishments
that would be interested in buying space in the new city. Consider the
many, many people who would jump at the chance to own a home or apartment
in the new clean, safe machine city having full employment, an all new
infrastructure and virtually no crime. In fact, there are workers
in this very facility who would eagerly invest in such a project.
Next imagine a small little accountant in his preppy brown suit
with his preppy brown shoes. Imagine him telling you that the compressor
market is shrinking. Imagine him insisting that the earth's supply of resources
in rapidly running out and having him tell you that the company must be
downsized and that we will all have to do with less in the future and pay
much more for it. Now decide which one of those futures you would
rather be part of.
Addendum November 2015: Following a number of questions and
comments I felt it necessary to add the following.
Energy Ships could be
built in many different configurations depending on their exact purpose,
however, it should be noted that the amount of material required to build an
Energy Ship is quite small as compared with the total actual resources required
for a deep sea oil rig. Additionally, the Energy Ship does not represent a
threat to the environment at any point in time and when you were done you would
have a sustainable energy source which was actually worth something and which
could also be used for many other residential, manufacturing, agricultural and
business purposes. It is also worth mentioning that an Energy Ship is a
practical alternative to the continued rebuilding of areas continually flooded
and devastated by hurricanes. It is positive insanity to continue
rebuilding in many costal areas and not only would the Energy Ships be cheaper,
they would be small sustainable economies which would markedly improve the lives
of the people living in them, and visiting them.
The construction of
these ships does require the development of large vapor turbines, but these were
well within the capability of Xxxxxxx-Xxxx in 1992 and remain so even though the
organization has been sold three times in the interim by financial people who
seem to have been far more concerned with lining their own pockets than the good
of the company or the needs of this country and the world. It is to be
hoped that the new owners will free this country from the pollution and wars
which have been caused by the combustion and extraction of oil and coal.