Electric Water

  • Author: David Bradley
  • Published: 08 July 2010
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Environ. Sci. Technol./ACS
thumbnail image: Electric Water

Mixing brine and fresh water could represent a new approach to power generation based on the thermodynamic principle of entropy.


Entropy increases when two solutions of different salt concentrations are mixed – a thermodynamic change that could generate electrical energy. Dutch technologists suggest that a sandwich of porous "supercapacitor" electrodes, ion-exchange membranes, and a spacer would represent a commercially viable approach for power production. The system could readily be scaled for generation purposes. 1000 L of river water mixing with the sea gives 2.5 MJ. Tapping all freshwater streams across the globe would amount to 2 terawatts of power, enough to satisfy current worldwide electricity demands.


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