Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rivers flowing into the sea offer vast potential as electricity source

Date:
April 18, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
A new genre of electric power-generating stations could supply electricity for more than a half billion people by tapping just one-tenth of the global potential of a little-known energy source that exists where rivers flow into the ocean, a new analysis has concluded. The process requires no fuel, is sustainable and releases no carbon dioxide (the main greenhouse gas).

Coastline where a river meets the sea near Belfast, in Northern Ireland.
Credit: marcel / Fotolia

A new genre of electric power-generating stations could supply electricity for more than a half billion people by tapping just one-tenth of the global potential of a little-known energy source that exists where rivers flow into the ocean, a new analysis has concluded. A report on the process -- which requires no fuel, is sustainable and releases no carbon dioxide (the main greenhouse gas) -- appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Related Articles


Menachem Elimelech and Ngai Yin Yip explain that the little-known process, called pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO), exploits the so-called salinity gradient -- or difference in saltiness -- between freshwater and seawater. In PRO, freshwater flows naturally by osmosis through a special membrane to dilute seawater on the other side. The pressure from the flow spins a turbine generator and produces electricity. The world's first PRO prototype power plant was inaugurated in Norway in 2009. With PRO appearing to have great potential, the scientists set out to make better calculations on how much it actually could contribute to future energy needs under real-world conditions.

Elimelech and Yip concluded that PRO power-generating stations using just one-tenth of the global river water flow into the oceans could generate enough power to meet the electricity needs of 520 million people, without emitting carbon dioxide. The same amount of electricity, if produced by a coal-fired power plant, would release over one billion metric tons of greenhouse gases each year.

The researchers acknowledge funding from the Environment and Water Industrial Development Council of Singapore for Ngai Yin Yip's fellowship.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ngai Yin Yip, Menachem Elimelech. Thermodynamic and Energy Efficiency Analysis of Power Generation from Natural Salinity Gradients by Pressure Retarded Osmosis. Environmental Science & Technology, 2012; 120413085012007 DOI: 10.1021/es300060m

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Rivers flowing into the sea offer vast potential as electricity source." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418135134.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, April 18). Rivers flowing into the sea offer vast potential as electricity source. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418135134.htm
American Chemical Society. "Rivers flowing into the sea offer vast potential as electricity source." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418135134.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

AFP (Apr. 18, 2015) In the Himalayan town of Lukla, excitement mingles with fear as mountaineers make their way up to Everest a year after an avalanche killed 16 guides and triggered an unprecedented shut-down of the world&apos;s highest peak. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) "Water cops" in Los Angeles remind the public about water conservation methods amid California&apos;s prolonged drought. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

AFP (Apr. 17, 2015) Scientists gathered at a European Space Agency (ESA) facility outside Rome this week for the Planetary Defence Conference 2015 to discuss how to tackle the potential threat from asteroids hitting Earth. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, splotches of oil still dot the seafloor and wads of tarry petroleum-smelling material hide in pockets in the marshes of Barataria Bay. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins