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Nanotubes Able to Harness Energy from Differences in Salinity of Fresh Water and Salt Water

RATE THIS! +12
Posted in Science on 4th Mar, 2013 10:10 PM by AlexMuller

Using boron nitride nanotubes, researchers have discovered a new method for harnessing energy from the salinity difference between fresh water and salt water.

 

The salinity difference between fresh water and salt water could be a source of renewable energy. However, power yields from existing techniques are not high enough to make them viable. A solution to this problem may now have been found. A team led by physicists at the Institut Lumière Matière in Lyon (CNRS / Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1), in collaboration with the Institut Néel (CNRS), has discovered a new means of harnessing this energy: osmotic flow through boron nitride nanotubes generates huge electric currents, with 1,000 times the efficiency of any previous system. To achieve this result, the researchers developed a highly novel experimental device that enabled them, for the first time, to study osmotic fluid transport through a single nanotube. Their findings are published in the 28 February issue of Nature.

 

When a reservoir of salt water is brought into contact with a reservoir of fresh water through a special kind of semipermeable membrane, the resulting osmotic phenomena make it possible to produce electricity from the salinity gradients. This can be done in two different ways: either the osmotic pressure differential between the two reservoirs can drive a turbine, or a membrane that only passes ions can be used to produce an electric current.

 

Concentrated at the mouths of rivers, the Earth’s osmotic energy potential has a theoretical capacity of at least 1 terawatt — the equivalent of 1,000 nuclear reactors. However, the technologies available for harnessing this energy are relatively inefficient, producing only about 3 watts per square meter of membrane. Today, a team of physicists at the Institut Lumière Matière in Lyon (CNRS / Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1), in collaboration with the Institut Néel (CNRS), may have found a solution to overcome this obstacle. Their primary goal was to study the dynamics of fluids confined in nanometric spaces, such as nanotubes.



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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2015-08-22
+0
Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. Nevertheless imagine if you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more, "pop"! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this Reply


 

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