04 Aug Another renewable energy with infinite potential: Osmosis
20/072016 source “América Economía”
Sea water, fresh water and a three atoms thin membrane are the ingredients of the new clean energy that joins the list of renewable we already know. Osmotic energy could be developed anywhere in the world that have these three factors.
With a big and endless potential, as any renewable, the osmotic energy is currently being developed by scientists at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, Switzerland.
In general terms, the production of electrical energy by osmosis is obtained through the transfer of electrodes, which occurs when fresh water comes into contact with the salty water through a thin membrane. The results of the research, which were published in the magazine Nature, determined that this membrane, with waterproof characteristics is the only one of its kind capable of drawing the salt ions with the perfect balance to achieve osmosis. This membrane is composed of a natural element called molybdenum disulfide and “holey” with millions of nanopores through which circulate the salt ions. Until the salt concentrations of both fluids are not equal, their activity does not cease. And as the water currents never stop, the production of energy is infinite, so it is a clean and renewable source.
The key process is specifically in the thickness of that membrane, an element in which the researchers had to play to “trial and error”. If it was too large, the ions not circulated and the same in reverse.
Its potential as any renewable energy is huge and infinite. As demonstrated by the calculations of scientists, a membrane of about a meter and a half of surface would be able to feed about 50,000 energy-saving lamps.
Once developed the technique, the next question is where we could store enough water to make “scalable” this energy production. The answer is simple: those places where river water flows into the seas, it is to say, in the estuaries. Places in which, at day or at night, if there is wind or not, the water always flows.
We shall therefore welcome this new type of energy that can help, in the near future, to depend less on fossil fuels.