Although the concepts of economic trade-off studies and optimization are well known, they are rarely used in large-scale design studies. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the feasibility of a computer system optimization program for an entire power plant, the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power module. The design and cost algorithms are discussed in general terms with emphasis on how these pieces can be developed and simultaneously integrated into the system program. A comprehensive optimization routine is presented for this complex system. A procedure is presented by which the optimum system parameters can be checked to guarantee that they are the true rather than local optimum values. Finally, the impact of enhanced heat transfer surfaces is discussed, in terms of both cost and performance.

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