Saturday, November 17, 2012


The Blue Revolution Hawaii board met yesterday, with some sorrowfulness, as one of our members, Guy Toyama (left), earlier this week passed away at the age of 42.  Three days earlier, a key inspiration for the Blue Revolution, Paul Yuen (right), also suddenly died.  Blue Revolution Hawaii is the synthesis of half a century of efforts validating Hawaii as the headquarters of the Blue Revolution.

Ostensibly, there is no real beginning for the Blue Revolution, as innumerable marine pioneers over the past century have contributed to this progress.   Let us begin in 1972, forty years ago, when Hawaii ocean engineer John Craven (left above) and Japanese architect Kiyonori Kikutake built a model of a floating city and towed it to Kaneohe Bay.  Alas, it sank, and remains rusting away.  John went on to found the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii in 1974, while Governor George Ariyoshi the adjacent Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park in 1985.  In 1990 the two were combined into the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA):

There are a few who wonder if this was wise, as now NELHA needs to assure that every project is self-sufficient.  For a field so formative, there has to be a vibrant R&D component to solidify the science and engineering, and cultivate new ideas and pathways.  The Pacific International Ocean Station, described in a 3June2012 posting, is the open ocean extension of NELHA, except that the early focus will be on technology transfer, with opportunities for free enterprise activity.

Early insights came from Spilly Spilhaus (left), founder of the Sea Grant Program, with his dreams about colonization of the ocean, and Joe Vadus (right), chief ocean technologist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration, who had the drive and imagination to dream about what could be.

The first real piece of hardware that actually worked on the open ocean was Mini-OTEC off NELHA at Keahole Point, Hawaii, in 1979.  Jim Wenzel and his Lockheed crew were the first to attain net positive for ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).

Patrick Takahashi had just joined the staff of U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga, and he helped draft the original bill for OTEC R&D.  The legislation was enacted in 1980.  The language suggested 10,000 MW by 1999.  During this same period, U.S. Senator Dan Inouye also succeeded in passing legislation to stimulate the commercialization of the technology.  Well, advancements have been elusive, for there is exactly zero MW operating today.  However, click on the current state of development, as there is newfound reason for some optimism.  Of course,  while OTEC is the necessary natural energy source, it is only an element of the Blue Revolution.

Chapter four of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth is on the Blue Revolution, while the Huffington Post has published three articles on the subject:

In a nutshell, while the Green Revolution merely led to an expansion of grain production, the Blue Revolution shows promise as the next major opportunity to produce clean energy, marine biomass plantations, next generation fisheries and other co-products, while remediating global warming and preventing the formation of hurricanes.

So back to the history, in the early to mid-80's, Paul Yuen and Pat enlisted the assistance of Fujio Matsuda (left), who was then president of the University of Hawaii, and George Ariyoshi (right), who was governor of Hawaii, to create the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR) as a partnership with Japan to establish in Hawaii a clean technology transfer organization to complement university research for the benefit of the Pacific Islands and World.  PICHTR succeeded in attaining net positive in 1992 with a 210 kW open cycle OTEC experiment at NELHA.

In 1991, Pat co-authored a presentation on the Blue Revolution by Hawaii Senator Richard Matsuura (left) to the The First Very Large Floating Structures Conference held in Honolulu.  In 1992 Senator Dan Inouye (right) published in SEA TECHNOLOGY The American Blue Revolution.  During this period, Joseph Vadus and Pat co-chaired a workshop in Kona, where the participants came to a conclusion that a 100,000 square foot (one hectare) floating platform could be built for $500 million, half the cost of one B-2 bomber, with a target date of the Year 2000.

The notion of half a billion dollars scared funding agencies and congressional staffers.  So a decision was made to pursue specific marine bio-product and ocean enhancement pathways, which someday in the future could be integrated unto a floating platform.  It was left to the private sector to develop OTEC.

Stan Dunn of Florida Atlantic University and Pat co-chaired a workshop at the headquarters of the Department of Commerce in D.C. in 1993 to prepare a feasibility plan for the design, construction and operation of a fleet of OTEC-powered plant ships to retard the formation of hurricanes.    They published a paper entitled Artificial Upwelling for Environmental Enhancement.

The University of Hawaii was selected as the National Science Foundation Marine Bioproducts Engineering Center in 1998 with funding of $12 million.  The primary focus was on marine microorganisms to produce high value biopharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.

In 1999, a team led by Fujio Matsuda, Joe Vadus and Pat wrote in SEA TECHNOLOGY on The Ultimate Ocean Ranch.  PICHTR hosted several next generation fishery workshops and summits, in Honolulu (1997), Tokyo (2004) and Bergen (2005), the latter resulting in the Bergen Declaration for Next Generation Fisheries.

In 2003 Pat was invited by the United Nations to address the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission to gain international cooperation for the Blue Revolution.  While interest was high, funding proved difficult, and the operative term then was something closer to the Blue Evolution.

Integrating the above, the timing was ideal to create an organization with the vision and capability to take all this knowledge to the next level, as indicated in a tribute to Guy Toyama by Pat in his Daily Blog:

Guy's legacy might well be Blue Revolution Hawaii and the Pacific International Ocean Station.  A couple of years ago, we were having lunch in Kona when he mentioned how billionaire Gordon Moore had provided funds to initiate the Thirty Meter Telescope Project.  As Guy had an office at Keahole Point at the entrance of the NELHA, why not the Blue Revolution with support from a billionaire?  Thus was born Blue Revolution Hawaii, which proposed the Pacific International Ocean Station.  Guy created the presentation for PIOS, which I presented at the Seasteading Institute's conference in San Francisco.

Leighton Chong came on board as the third Blue Revolutionist.  He and Guy took on the leadership role to organize Blue Revolution Hawaii.  The two made presentations in Japan and China and met with potential partners in those two countries.  The original board included Fujio Matsuda and John Farias.  Our two annual dinners with advisors:

The Board meeting today of Blue Revolution Hawaii at the Plaza Club:

Clockwise from the bottom left:  John Farias, Dante Carpenter, Patrick Takahashi, Matt Matsunaga, Leighton Chong, Kaiu Kimura and George Ariyoshi.  Fujio Matsuda had the flu.

So the story of the Blue Revolution can only be introductory and the mission of Blue Revolution Hawaii is only beginning.  Space became passe when the Cold War ended.  The next great opportunity for humanity is to develop the riches of the seas in harmony with the marine environment.  Hawaii is in the middle of the largest ocean, and the ideal site for the Pacific International Ocean Station (PIOS).  For only 1% the cost of the International Space Station (left, ISPwhich has expended $150 billion), PIOS can serve as the platform from which can come sustainable fuels, ultimate ocean ranches, marine biomass plantations, Disney-at-Sea and, someday, floating cities.  Pictured below is Shimizu Corporation's Green Float, a future phase which could well begin with PIOS:


Friday, August 24, 2012


Leighton Chong today made a presentation on the Pacific International Ocean Station to a capacity crowd of the Engineers and Architects of Hawaii at the TOPA Tower in downtown Honolulu. To the left is a photo of Leighton with the president of the organization, Howard Wiig, of the Hawaii Department of Planning, Economic Development and Tourism.  EAH was founded in 1902.

Friday August 24th

Speaker: Leighton K. Chong -- BRH COO & Counsel 

Title: Proposal For a Pacific International Ocean Station in Hawaii

71% of our Earth’s surface is water, and 80% of the heat of the Sun reaching Earth daily is stored as thermal energy in the oceans.  Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) can supply clean energy as well as food and water for mankind’s needs.  In-ocean research is needed to answer environmental, sustainability, climatological and economic feasibility questions whether and under what circumstances OTEC energy, food, water, and marine co-products processing can be sustainably and beneficially undertaken on a large scale.  Blue Revolution Hawaii, as presented by its COO & Counsel Leighton K. Chong, advocates building a Pacific International Ocean Station (PIOS) in Southwest Hawaiian EEZ waters as an in-ocean host platform for international cooperative research.  If successful, it could serve as a prototype for eventual large-scale ocean resource production facilities in a U.S. Marine Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) and, ultimately, a model for global ocean resources and economic development.


Sunday, June 3, 2012


On June 1-2, 2012, the Seasteading Institute hosted a gathering for a hundred conferees at the Le Meridien Hotel in San Francisco.  The proceedings are covered in Day 1 and Day 2.

A Blue Revolution Hawaii presentation was made by Patrick Takahashi on the Pacific International Ocean Station.  (Click to view.)

Among the highlights were:

  -  Potential project of the Maritime Alliance (San Diego) by William Riedy:  Portunas Project (designed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), an at-sea harbor for security and efficiency.  Michael Jones, President of the Alliance, expressed interest in a working relationship with Blue Revolution Hawaii.

  -  Blueseed's Googleplex of the Sea (left), a floating high tech office to be floated 12 miles off Half Moon Bay, California:

  -  Announcement by Patri Friedman, co-founder of Seasteading, of an $8 million, 275 foot ship to serve as the Seasteading Institute's headquarters at sea.

  -  George Petrie, Director of Engineering for Seasteading, provided a preliminary, but comprehensive, analysis of floating platforms, and suggested that a semi-submersible was the ideal conformation.  He also wants to interact with Blue Revolution Hawaii.

  -  Bob Nicholson, President of OTEC International, reported on their plans to build a 1 MW OTEC demonstration at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii, and mentioned that they are continuing to negotiate with Hawaiian Electric Company for a 100 MW OTEC spar (left) on a power purchase agreement at an electricity cost in the range of $0.19/kWh.

  -  Myron Nordquist (University of Virginia, long time friend from Law of the Sea days thirty years ago) and John Briscoe (University of California, Berkeley), provided a tutorial on ocean law.  

  -  Neil Sims (below with his kampachi) wowed the audience with his presentation on mariculture.  It was 23 years ago that I convinced Neil and his wife over a bottle of Wolf Blass Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon in Sydney to leave Australia and come to Hawaii.  I think he has long forgiven me.

  -  There were several talks on marine medical tourism, and how an offshore ship located 12 miles from the coastline would allow for a variety of treatments and medications.

  -  Marine algae also was well covered, but my follow-up discussions seemed to indicate that biofuels from algae were today very expensive, and it remains uncertain if this pathway would ever compete with conventional fuels.  However, there are various high-value product opportunities that can be pursued on these platforms.

  -  Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones, President of Livefuels, discussed fuels from algae, and, in particular emphasized the matter of Peak Phosphate, and the role deep ocean fluids can play.

The Seasteading Institute was founded in 2008 by Patri Friedman (left) and Peter Thiel (right).

In case you missed this bit of Facebook's history, Thiel was the original investor, and holds 2% (now worth around $2 billion, or will when the stock price recovers someday).  The Thiel Foundation was well represented and showed interest in the Pacific International Ocean Station.

The following PowerPoint was largely developed by Guy Toyoma, and first presented by Patrick Takahashi at the the Seasteading Conference in San Francisco on June 1, 2012.

PREAMBLE:   Floating in space is the International Space Station, a $150 billion adventure which appears to be in the process of being abandoned.  For one percent the cost, say $1.5 billion, the Pacific International Ocean Station is being planned to serve as a grazing plantship powered by OTEC for a global partnership to advance the development of sustainable ocean resources in harmony with the marine environment.  Certainly marine biomass plantations and next generation plantations, but also opportunities for innovative business practices, exciting new living habitats and maybe even a Disney at Sea.