May 30, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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This “salt battery” is shipped by sea

This “salt battery” is shipped by sea

Researchers from China have developed a membrane that can be used to generate electricity from water. More specifically, energy is extracted from pressure differences between salt water and fresh water.

Researchers have created a thin barrier that can harness osmotic energy. This barrier acts as a kind of filter that separates salt water from fresh water. When they come together, as in a river meeting the sea, they produce energy that can be converted into electricity.

The technology isn't actually new, but a new design created by experts could produce more than twice the amount of electricity as currently commercially available membranes. This is clear from laboratory tests. Scientists published a study on the membrane in a specialized journal ACS Energy Letters.

How it works?

The membrane consists of two separate channels: one for transporting positively charged molecules and the other for transporting negatively charged electrons. The membrane is made of materials that can conduct electricity well. By creating these separate channels, scientists were able to maximize the efficiency of transfer of ions and electrons.

They then tested this new design in a water tank simulating an estuary. The electricity production per unit area can be more than double that of commercial membranes. The membrane also remained in operation for 16 consecutive days during tests.

Although the material has only been tested in the laboratory so far, the team hopes it can also be used in the real world. During one experiment, researchers showed that practical amounts of energy could be generated effectively. By connecting 20 membranes, enough power can be generated to operate a calculator, LED light and stopwatch.

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