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A Source (Of Energy) For Garcia

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Design Experiences in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.109.1 - 7.109.10



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Paper Authors

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Robert Mayer

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Session 2133

A Source (of Energy) for Garcia Robert H. Mayer United States Naval Academy


The U.S. Navy maintains a remote installation on the island of Diego Garcia in the Chagos Archipelago, Indian Ocean. This facility uses more than 65 MWh of electricity and 350 M-gal of water annually. Reliability and costs of electricity supply and fresh water quality were concerns of the Navy in 1996. Prospective contractors were invited to submit proposals for provision of these services with some encouragement to use renewable energy resources.

As a capstone design project, three teams of 1 st-class midshipmen (seniors majoring in ocean engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy) set about to identify and design an ocean energy system to compete, at least conceptually, with Navy contractors. These teams explored various renew- able energy sources such as ocean thermal, wave, and offshore wind energy. In four-months time, each team researched the alternatives and developed a concept design for its selected energy source. Results were presented to a Review Panel consisting of Navy representatives and ocean engineering professionals. Brief details of this capstone experience and educational oppor- tunities in renewable ocean energies at the U.S. Naval Academy are shared later in the paper.

Past developments and recent trends in renewable energy from ocean sources are this paper’s principal focus. For example, France currently maintains the most significant ocean energy recovery plant - a 240-MW tidal power facility at La Rance. And, Denmark’s “Energy 21” Plan calls for development of 4 GW of offshore wind power by the year 2030, sufficient to meet more than 25% of that nation’s anticipated consumption of electricity.


In this period of national tragedy yet increasing patriotism, there is an island that stands out on the horizon of my memories like that of Tortola featured in the movie “The Deep,” and the site of my (and my spouse’s) honeymoon. When in naval service (circa 1974), it was very necessary to install a marine fuel terminal for a critical naval facility. Newly established, Naval Support Facility (NSF) Diego Garcia was located somewhere on a coral atoll in the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean, just south of the equator. No commercial ship or plane could travel there. Yet, NSF Diego Garcia required two ½-mile submarine fuel lines and an offshore tanker mooring, and these facilities were needed expeditiously! What was the NSF to do?

The Navy sent Underwater Construction Team One, my unit, to install the three fuel facility components. How we toiled six days and rested on the seventh; dragged the fuel lines from shore to sea and set explosive embedment anchors for the mooring; and how, in three-months time, we completed the arduous tasks, even taking time to explore the pristine coral reefs within the lagoon and about the atoll’s fringes, are experiences that I have no intent to tell here.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Mayer, R. (2002, June), A Source (Of Energy) For Garcia Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10688

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