Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Phang Siew Moi

  • Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plants are a viable option for the clean energy supplier. It depends on the technique used, the vaporisation and condensation processes which will generate effluents in the form of seawater and desalinated water, at temperatures between the lowest (eg. 6 Celcius) and highest surface water (26 Celcius). If the deep sea water (DSW) is used, then the unpolluted, nutrient-rich DSW, at temperatures below the tropical means, would be very useful for extending the range of marine organisms that can be cultivated, (eg. temperate species can now be cultivated in the tropics), using these effluents.
  • Algae, comprising both microalgae and seaweeds, constitute valuable biochemicals that can be valorized into high-value products like biopharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and biofuel (biodiesel, bioethanol, biogas).
  • The lipid-rich microalgae (eg. Chlorella) and carbohydrate-rich macroalgae (Laminaria) are competitive feedstocks for the production of biodiesel, bioalcohol and biomethane, respectively.
  • The cultivation of algae in the effluents arising from an OTEC system and the valorisation of the algal biomass in the form of high-value products, would contribute to the sustainability of the energy production system.
  • In addition to revenue generation, algal growth contributes to carbon removal, oxygen generation, and generally, it makes a positive contribution to climate management.
  • The technologies of algal cultivation can be transferred to the local coastal communities, which can benefit from the enhanced income arising from the high-value algal products.
  • Microalgae like the Cyanophyte Spirulina has high demand as a health food supplement and feed for aquaculture.
  • It is also a source of natural pigments (phycocyanin, carotenoids) and fatty acids (gamma-linolenic acid, GLA).
  • There is no Spirulina farm in Malaysia, and this will be a good opportunity to establish farming.
  • Japanese cuisine is very popular and the cold effluent from OTEC can be used to cultivate both temperate and tropical seaweeds like Caulerpa (Umi-budo), Gracilaria, Gelidium, Laurencia, Halymenia as high-value table food, as well as sources of nutraceuticals.
  • In this project, selected algal species will be cultured in the low-temperature effluent from the OTEC system. The biomass will be profiled to monitor changes in their growth rate and biochemistry; this is especially for temperate species (eg. Gelidium) that may be encouraged to grow in tropical Malaysia.
  • Through this study, we may develop new valuable species for cultivation and enhance the algal/seaweed industry.


  1. To select the most suitable algal species to cultivate in the effluents from the OTEC system.
  2. To conduct biochemical profiling of the algal species that have been cultivated in the OTEC effluent.
  3. To formulate the cultivation medium for the algae using commercial chemicals.
  4. To design and optimize mass cultivation systems that can be integrated into the OTEC system; and simple down-stream processing.
  5. To develop high-value products from the algal biomass and to determine their valorization value.
  6. To conduct a simple techno-economic analysis of the production systems.
  7. To carry out technology transfer to the local communities.

Flowchart Project 6

Novel theories / New findings / Knowledge
Sustainable income-generation techniques for using low-temperature effluents from the OTEC system.

Research Publications
Not less than seven (7) publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Specific or Potential Applications

  • Valorisation of the algal biomass
  • Livelihood enhancement of local communities
  • Climate management through carbon reduction by algal growth

Number of PhD and Masters (by research) Students

  • PhD Student(s): 1
  • Master Student(s): 2


  1. Prof. Dr. Phang Siew Moi – PROJECT LEADER
  2. Prof. Dr. Sumiani Yusoff
  3. Dr Kishneth A/L Palaniveloo
  4. Dr. Yeong Hui Yin
  5. Dr. Adibi Rahiman Mohd Nor