Energy budget of the thermal gradient in the Southern Brazilian continental shelf


A 14 years simulation was made for the entire SBS using OCCAM model.

We find the best location on the coast for the installation of theoretical OTEC plant.

The northern region stands out with the highest energy potential.

A theoretical OTEC plant converter can generate in average 94.305 MW.

The most energetic events occurred related to seasonal processes linked to current of Brazil and against coastal current.


Various forms of energy conversion have been examined over the years and the energy of thermal gradients currently operating in some regions of the world has been studied. The Southern Brazilian Continental Shelf has high spatial and temporal temperature variability, indicating the need for a climatological analysis to identify the regions with the largest energy budgets. This region was shown to have a large energy budget through the analysis of sea surface temperature modelling data over 14 years. Based on the seasonality, the most suitable area for using an OTEC facility was identified. A numerical module forced with the monthly averaged modelling data was developed in order to estimates the thermal energy conversion from the ocean. The results show that there is a low sensitivity of the thermocline and thermal gradient associated with the change of seasons and oceanic features observed in this region. The theoretical maximum power produced can reach up to 121.9 MW and the average over the studied period was approximately 94.3 MW considering a punctual extraction spot. A simulated conversion site placed where there was greatest viability revealed that the average standard thermal gradient is 0.17 °C/m along the vertical column (545 m) from the sea.


  • Thermal gradient;
  • Thermal energy;
  • Ocean thermal energy conversion;
  • Seasonality;
  • Ocean climate circulation advanced modelling;
  • Southern Brazilian continental shelf

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