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30 Sep 09. The U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) recently awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) an $8.12 million contract to further develop Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) technology, which leverages the temperature difference between warmer water at the ocean’s surface and colder water below to produce renewable and reliable power. Under the contract, a Lockheed Martin-led industry team will develop critical OTEC system components and further mature its design for an OTEC pilot plant, an incremental step in developing large-scale utility plants. A key part of maturing the plant design includes developing an interface between the system’s cold water pipe and the platform. Lockheed Martin’s experience with OTEC technology dates back to the 1970s when the company built “Mini-OTEC.” This early prototype remains the world’s only floating OTEC system to generate power in excess of what is required for self-sustainment. Since that time, Lockheed Martin has continued to mature and validate the critical technologies necessary for an OTEC system that could generate a utility-scale power supply. In 2008, Lockheed Martin was awarded a U.S. Department of Energy contract to demonstrate a modern fabrication approach for a cold water pipe, a key component of the OTEC system. In addition to its work on OTEC, Lockheed Martin is working with its customers to address the nation’s energy and climate challenges in the areas of next-generation alternative energy, energy efficiency, storage and climate monitoring.