Renewable energy: Nanotubes to channel osmotic power

March 1, 2013

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, in collaboration with the Institut Néel (CNRS), has discovered a new means of harnessing this energy: osmotic flow through nanotubes generates huge , with 1,000 times the efficiency of any previous system.

To achieve this result, the researchers developed a highly novel 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.

Explore further: Harnessing the power of salt, Norway tries osmotic power

More information: Siria, A. et al. Giant osmotic energy conversion measured in a single transmembrane boron-nitride nanotube, Nature. 28 Feb 2013.

Related Stories

Renewable Energy Made by Mixing Salt and Fresh Water

September 2, 2009

( -- When a river flows into the sea, the location is more than just a haven for water commerce. The mixing of fresh and salt water that occurs at an estuary also dissipates energy, as the different salinity waters ...

Boosting the amount of energy obtained from water

November 18, 2009

The energy generated in places where fresh water and salt water meet is known as blue energy. This is a relatively new but highly promising renewable energy source. Piotr Długołęcki of the University of Twente ...

Simulations help explain fast water transport in nanotubes

September 16, 2008

( -- By discovering the physical mechanism behind the rapid transport of water in carbon nanotubes, scientists at the University of Illinois have moved a step closer to ultra-efficient, next-generation nanofluidic ...

Recommended for you

Nano-decoy lures human influenza A virus to its doom

October 25, 2016

To infect its victims, influenza A heads for the lungs, where it latches onto sialic acid on the surface of cells. So researchers created the perfect decoy: A carefully constructed spherical nanoparticle coated in sialic ...

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

October 24, 2016

Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed a new method to increase the energy density of lithium (Li-ion) batteries. He has built a trilayer structure that ...

Nanofiber coating prevents infections of prosthetic joints

October 24, 2016

In a proof-of-concept study with mice, scientists at The Johns Hopkins University show that a novel coating they made with antibiotic-releasing nanofibers has the potential to better prevent at least some serious bacterial ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

2 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2013
Thanks for the detailed synopsis, PHYSORG! Now we know precisely how and why this novel process is poised to leave all other saline-differential energy extraction technologies gasping in the dry, dirty dust of obsolescence.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2013
See: Nature. 28 Feb 2013.
not rated yet Mar 06, 2013
Desalination and producing electricity, one of my fav topics.

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.