Considering all of the water in the oceans of the Earth, it’s no surprise that researchers the world over are hammering away at the challenge of extracting renewable energy from the sea. Now a team based in Australia has come up with a solution that leverages osmotic pressure to do the trick. In an odd twist, recycled Kevlar could also come into play. This diagram depicts bio-inspired nanocomposite membranes for efficient blue energy harvesting. (Image credit: Chen, et al.). Renewable Energy From Seawater: Great Idea! For those of you new to the topic, osmosis refers to the passage of water through a membrane. The electricity angle comes in with the seawater. Think salt and ions, and you’re on the right track. If sea water is separated from fresh water by a membrane, the two sides will seek a balance. That puts pressure on the membrane, and pressure can be converted to energy. That sounds simple enough, but the devil is in the details. The Australian team, based at the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deaking University, explains that osmotic membranes “must combine high mechanical properties with high surface charge, nanochannel density, scalability of production, and environmental resilience.” Renewable Energy […]

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