New battery produces electricity where freshwater meets saltwater

Apr 20, 2011

Scientists are reporting development of a new battery that extracts and stores energy produced from the difference in saltiness at the point where freshwater in rivers flows into oceans. A report on the battery, which could supply about 13 percent of the world's energy needs, appears in ACS' journal Nano Letters.

Yi Cui and colleagues cite the intensive global scientific effort to develop to supplement supplies of oil and other traditional fuels like coal, which contribute to global warming. Solar, wind, and geothermal are renewable, sustainable energy sources that have attracted much attention recently. Scientists long have known about the possibility of producing electricity from differences in the salinity, or saltiness, of water. So the new study focused on development of more practical ways of tapping that potential.

The result was a so-called "mixing entropy battery." Alternating the flow of river water and sea water through the battery produces electricity to charge it. The process also can be reversed to remove salt from ocean water to produce . The scientists describe the a very promising potential addition to the ranks of solar, wind, and other renewable energy, and are working on modifications to make the device a commercial reality.

Explore further: Better memory with faster lasers

More information: “Batteries for Efficient Energy Extraction from a Water Salinity Difference” Nano Letters - pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/nl200500s

Related Stories

Do the benefits of renewable energy sources stack up?

Aug 13, 2007

Do the overall efficiencies of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal add up in terms of their complete life cycle from materials sourcing, manufacture, running, and decommissioning? Researchers in ...

Alternative fuels may drain dwindling water supplies

Oct 20, 2008

As the search for new fuels intensifies, researchers in Texas report that switching to certain alternative fuels to power cars, trucks, and SUVs may require the use of much more water than conventional petroleum-based gasoline ...

China to be 3rd biggest wind power producer: media

Jan 01, 2010

China is set to become the world's third largest wind power producer in 2009, state media reported, as the Asian giant seeks various ways to expand energy supply to power its economic boom.

Recommended for you

Better memory with faster lasers

Jul 02, 2015

DVDs and Blu-ray disks contain so-called phase-change materials that morph from one atomic state to another after being struck with pulses of laser light, with data "recorded" in those two atomic states. ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

EWH
not rated yet Apr 20, 2011
See Wikipedia's article on "Osmotic power" for more details.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.