Connect with us

Energy and Transportation

A New Technology Could Provide 40% of the World’s Energy Needs, and It’s Carbon-Neutral

Published

on

Researchers have combined technologies that produce energy where salt and fresh water meet to invent a more efficient system to harness clean energy. This new technology may be able to supply 40 percent of the world's power demands.

HARNESSING SALT CONCENTRATIONS

Estuaries are ecosystems constantly in flux — brackish bodies of water where fresh and ocean water meet and mix. These coastal “living laboratories” have long been of interest to scientists, and now researchers may have found a way to harness their power — literally.

Researchers at Penn State have developed a new hybrid technology that merges the most effective pieces of existing methods for capturing energy created from differences in salt concentrations in water. This new blended process generates unprecedented amounts of electrical power in places where saltwater and freshwater meet.

Until now, the most successful and commonly used method for seizing the energy from salt concentration differentials has been pressure retarded osmosis (PRO). PRO selectively lets water through a semi-permeable membrane while holding salt back and creating osmotic pressure that moves turbines, generating power. However, the membranes tend to clog up, and the method is less useful with extremely salty water. Reverse electrodialysis (RED), solves some of these issues by transporting salt through its membranes rather than water, but it generates only small amounts of power.

The Penn State researchers solved the problems by creating an electrochemical flow cell that features both the RED and Capacitive mixing (CapMix) technologies. CapMix is a fairly new technique that draws energy from the voltage that is created when two electrodes are immersed in water whose salt concentration changes. While CapMix yields too little power to be viable by itself, marrying it to the RED technology increased energy production efficiency by more than four times compared to RED alone — attaining a higher level of energy production density than even the PRO method.

POWERFUL CURRENTS

The researchers say that harnessing the difference in salt concentration with their technique has the potential to create energy sufficient to meet as much as 40 percent of the world’s electricity needs. Since a recent survey revealed that solar roofs could provide 25 percent of the energy used in the U.S., this technology could go a long way toward eliminating most of the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.

The Energy of the Future: Harnessing the Power of Earth
Click to View Full Infographic

If this technology is as efficient as this study suggests, countries would simply need to head to the coast to get the technology in place — assuming they could afford it. The Penn State team and other teams around the world have been working not only on perfecting the technologies, but also on keeping the price points low to ensure they’d be accessible to all.

Although the results are promising, the work isn’t done yet. The researchers need to research how stable the electrodes remain over time. They also need to know how other seawater elements such as sulfate and magnesium could affect the cell’s performance. Hopefully they’ll see positive results from more long-term testing soon so this carbon-neutral energy source can be harnessed. As the U.S. moves toward further deregulating the fossil fuel industry, timing could be crucial.

 


Join Mobilized for life-changing opportunities, create new partnerships, discover new and improved ways to mobilize your ideas and actions, and discover a whole new world of opportunity dedicated to sustainable development of systems around the world. Sign up here.


 

 

Continue Reading
HEROES5 days ago

Right Livelihood Awards Announced: System Change is Not Only Possible, But Necessary

HEROES5 days ago

Inspiring the Next Generation of Changemakers

HEROES6 days ago

Make Love Go Viral: Somalian Peacemakers

HEROES6 days ago

Energy as a Public Service

HEROES6 days ago

Honoring Cooperatives

HEROES6 days ago

Ukranian Human Rights Defenders

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Understanding the Great Transition

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Information, Communications, Media

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Consumption, Materials and Resources

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Food and Agriculture

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Transforming Health

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Education for a New World

Featured2 weeks ago

The Transformation of Energy and Transportation Systems

The Great Transition3 weeks ago

Going forward: A realistic action plan

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Policy1 month ago

NO TO NUKES: Non-proliferation treaty conference ends in failure, ban treaty shows the way forward

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Innovation without Borders

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Information without Borders

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Affordable and Renewable Clean Energy

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Resources and Materials

Innovation without borders2 months ago

Improved Food Systems

Build for Change2 months ago

Why Endless Consumption of Our Finite Planet Will Take Us to Our Cliff of Doom and How We Can Prevent It

Featured2 months ago

Indigenous rice out-performs commercial varieties in nutrition value and tolerance to drought, flood, extreme weather

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

Reviving Jordan’s community, resilience and food sovereignty through urban wheat cultivation

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

An organic farming revolution in Thailand

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Heart Attacks Are Not Worth Dying For

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Rethink: Humanity’s Next Operating System

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Find out how your community could take on big business to serve the health of all.

Food and Land2 months ago

Understanding the Roots of the Food Crises and Preventing Future Crises: Resilience and a Deep Dive

Editorials2 months ago

Another Conference is not going to save us:

A web of Life for ALL Life2 months ago

Truths or Consequences

Build for Change2 months ago

The launch of “Rights of the Atlantic Ocean” campaign in Newfoundland

Build for Change2 months ago

What’s really going on in the Brazilian Rainforests?

Editorials2 months ago

To Save the Planet, Forget About the Globe (And Act Locally)

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Rethink X4 months ago

Out of Chaos Comes Creation: Understanding Transformation of Civilizations

Rethink X4 months ago

Understanding the Repeating Patterns of History: Growth / Collapse / Transformation

Mobilized News Network7 months ago

Clarity Above all Else

Paradigm Change7 months ago

Nuremberg Prosecutor at 102: Make Law, Not War.

INTERVIEWS8 months ago

GAIA TALKS: The Earth Speaks: Mohamed Ismail from Egyptians Abroad For Democracy Worldwide

Paradigm Change8 months ago

An Empowered World: People, we are Ready!

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Conscious capitalism and Raising the Bar of Human Possibility

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Open Collaboration on an Epic Scale: The Future is Cooperatively Decentralized

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming Energy and Transportation

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming agriculture and food systems for optimal planetary and personal health

Arts9 months ago

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

A web of Life for ALL Life10 months ago

We are One

Mobilized TV10 months ago

How we can eradicate heart Disease

Mobilized TV10 months ago

Howard Bloom: Imagination Takes You Everywhere

Featured10 months ago

From Punk to Planet: Slam Dunk the Junk with Dave Street

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A Moral Responsibility: Jean Su, Ctr. for Biological Diversity

Mobilized TV11 months ago

On Free Speech TV: Rethinking Humanity with James Arbib of RethinkX

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Sustainable Architecture, Design and Building for a Sustainable Planet

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A better understanding of lawn care for Climate Care featuring Dr. Rob Moir of the Ocean River Institute

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Stories from the Reservation: Davidica Little Spotted Horse

The News without the Noise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translate »