As we head into the future the need for alternative sources of energy becomes a hugely discussed topic. As our reserves of fossil fuels deplete and the pollution produced by using them to create energy grows, the World is searching for a sustainable source that is eco-friendly.
Two researchers from Yale University, Ngai Yin Yip and Menachem Elimelech, believe that they have found just what we need. The pair have been studying the amount of energy that could be created from water as it passes from a river into the sea and believe it has great potential.
Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO), which is a process of generating energy using the difference in the salt content found in sea water and fresh water, could be used to generate a vast amount of energy. Osmosis causes the fresh water to be forced through special membranes, which in turn can be used to spin turbines that generate the electricity.
The American Chemical Society explain; “In PRO, freshwater flows naturally by osmosis through a special membrane to dilute seawater on the other side. The pressure from the flow spins a turbine generator and produces electricity.”
One power plant in Norway already uses this exact process and has done successfully since 2009.