Makai Ocean Engineering has completed a contract funded by the Office of Naval Research through the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute to research and develop Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC) technology. SWAC is a method to provide air conditioning to buildings using a district cooling system that uses an available cold water reservoir as its source.
SWAC can provide air conditioning using about one-tenth of the energy required for conventional air conditioning. The Navy has recently expressed interest in implementing SWAC district cooling systems at island bases using the Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) model.
Makai’s SWAC study produced a software tool that is capable of quickly and accurately assessing the feasibility of a SWAC system anywhere in the world. The cost with the greatest uncertainty for SWAC is often the deep seawater pipeline. Accordingly, the most critical input for any SWAC feasibility or cost analysis is often accurate pipeline construction cost data, according to Makai.