Energy Ships
Brian Afton 
1234 Burnt Hill Rd. 
Olean, NY 14760 
716 372 5850 
                                             Sept 9, 1992 

New Markets 

  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 recession. 

  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 States.

  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 entire country. 

  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 world. 

  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.

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