Carnot engines are practical in many applications mainly because they only require a temperature gradient to do mechanical work . One such application is the conversion of oceanic thermal energy into work, a process that uses the temperature difference between the “…warm top layer and cold deep seawater of the ocean to generate power…” . The Carnot cycle has also been used to model the formation of knowledge in the brain at the microscopic level by condensation of the sensory cortices from a “gas-like state to a liquid-like state…” . Both applications highlight the broad coverage of real world modeling and applications of the Carnot cycle.
Schematic of a proposed Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant using a Carnot based cycle. The basic operation involves a working fluid being evaporated using the energy in the ‘hot’ water at Th . The vapour pressure of the working fluid is then used to be drive a turbine generator. The vapour is finally condensed using the cold deepsea water and travels back to the evaporator.