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Mixing Salt And Fresh Water Produces Electicity…Who Knew?

salt-electrode-01When salt water and fresh water meet, energy is released when the salt water tries to find a new salinity equilibrium.  According to Doriano Brogioli of the University of Milan Bicocca in Monza, Italy, this energy can be harnessed using modern day techniques to capture the energy.

According to Physorg, here is how it works.

The [electric double layer] capacitor is made of two porous carbon electrodes immersed in salt water. The electrodes are then connected to a power supply so that one becomes negatively charged and the other positively charged. Since salt water consists of positively charged sodium ions and negatively charged chloride ions, the positive electrode attracts the chloride ions and the negative electrode attracts the sodium ions. With the help of the electrostatic force keeping the oppositely charged ions near their respective electrodes, the EDL capacitor can store a charge.To extract the charge, fresh water is pumped into the device, causing the sodium and chloride ions to diffuse away from the electrodes against the electrostatic force. In other words, the work done by the fresh water to extract the salt water is converted into electrostatic energy, appearing as an increase in voltage between the electrodes. Overall, the system transforms mechanical work (the mixing of the salt and fresh water) into electrostatic energy that can be extracted as usable power.

If this power can be harnessed properly, it could mean an endless flow of energy as there are thousands of estuaries in the world.  This technology is simply harnessing the natural energy that mother nature releases instead of finding ways to produce energy through burning oil, or colliding atoms.


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