Electronics > Power/Renewable Energy/EV's

Osmotic membrane produces 1 megawatt per square meter!

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This is being reposted like crazy today:


--- Quote ---The potential of the new system is huge. According to their calculations, a 1m² membrane with 30% of its surface covered by nanopores should be able to produce 1MW of electricity

--- End quote ---

As I understand it, at the moment it doesn't produce anything close to 1 Mwatt.


I hate that trend of taking any slightly positive result of something that barely works at a tiny scale in a lab and instantly blowing it up to [insert scale that results in huge impressive numbers here] to be able to declare [field] will be revolutionized soon™ before it's even known whether the thing can be scaled up...  :palm:

Yes, let's make square meters of 3-atom-thick films, that are robust against environmental forces and biological contamination...

I also don't think water has that kind of energy density to begin with, even if you saturate it with salt.  It certainly doesn't get that hot, and I can't see a square meter with anywhere near enough volume of water flowing over it being able to deliver that much power.  But I haven't run the numbers.  I do know there is entropy, and voltage, associated with concentration: but it's quite small, on the order of 10s mV.


The theoretical potential of osmotic pressure is not that small. As a rough estimate one get something like 20 bar of pressure - so effectively having something like a 200 m virtual drop for rivers of fresh water flowing in a salty ocean. The energy is coming from the temperature - so make the water cooler by about half a degree.

The trouble is the membrane. Also scaling could be tricky as the membrane needs to stand a pressure difference in the 20 bar range - relatively easy at µm scale, but difficult at meter scale.

I also very much doubt the numbers. For that energy density the water would have to flow at 100 m/s. Don't think this will happen - not large scale, but also not in the micro scale.  So maybe someone mixed up mm and miles.


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