As promised, this is a follow-up to the post earlier this week on International Cooperation in Green Energy. Today I’ll share a few of the many uses of the mineral rich Deep-Sea water used on Kume Island and also a byproduct of some green OTEC power generators. The cold water at the bottom of the ocean is rich in nutrients and minerals, but since it is far from photosynthesizing phytoplankton (plant plankton) is limited in oxygen. When that cold water is brought to the surface and oxygenated, it can be used in numerous applications.
As you might imagine, the water can support a wealth of sea-life. Unlike normal sea water, the extra nutrient content provides unique opportunities for increasing the size and quality of a variety of natural organisms. From the clams pictured above, to shrimp and other delicacies, the deep-sea water can be harnessed to promote important food sources.
Shrimp are an oceanic food loved throughout the world, but pose unique challenges in the wild. Shrimp tend to tunnel into sand, making them difficult to catch in a sustainable way. In addition, wild shrimp can be prone to viruses and other dangers that affect their availability. Kumejima utilizes the nutrient rich deep-sea water to hatch eggs and develop the microscopic shrimp until they are large enough to transport to other larger shrimp farms. The high quality water helps provide more food for the small shrimp to feed on, promoting their growth and quality.
Umi Budo, literally translated as sea grapes are a type of seaweed popular in Okinawa. Small round nodules dot the long strings of sea plant that give them their other name, the caviar of the sea. These tasty treats are popular as appetizers and are very tasty. While they are a plant native to Okinawan waters, using deep-sea water to grow the plants ensures more and more tightly spaced nodules, making them a higher quality.
In addition to being highly mineralized, deep-sea water is very clean. This makes it suitable for desalinization as a drinking or irrigation source. In Japan, though, bathing is such an important part of the culture that people have found a use for it there as well. Just as natural hot springs are prized for their mineral rich waters, so too has Kume Island developed the Bade Haus spa complex to utilize deep-sea water. The bath house has a large heated pool with massaging jets as well as sauna, jacuzzi, and other features that allow the body to relax and absorb the properties of the water.
Since the water from the deep-sea is cold, it can also be used in farming applications. Tropical areas in particular have high temperatures that can make winter vegetables difficult to grow out of season. Using cold deep-sea water to cool soil by running pipes can allow for longer or even multiple growing seasons for some plants. After cooling fields, the water can then progress to other non-temperature related uses, making it an efficient and clean tool.