Blue Energy Essay

1062 words - 5 pages

We can build better or secure energy future by different methods. For example by the search for renewable energy sources, now the world relies heavily on fossil fuels (oil, natural gas or coal). And we know that fossil fuels are non-renewable. The resources of these fossil fuels are limited and these resources are started to abundant. So we need such fuel or sources of energy which are infinite or renewable easily. The need for clean and sustainable energy sources is quite evident, since fossil fuels have a number of drawbacks: such as emissions of greenhouse gases, depletion of finite sources, and dependence on a few oil-exporting regions in the world. Current energy conversion techniques that are considered to be sustainable include solar, wind, biomass, and hydro energy. There are other sources of sustainable energy including, but not limited to tidal power, ocean wave power, and ocean thermal energy conversion. A significant potential to obtain clean energy exists from mixing water streams with different salt concentrations. This salinity-gradient energy, also called Blue Energy, is available worldwide where fresh water streams flow into the sea. The global energy output from estuaries is estimated at 2.6 TW, which represents approximately 20% of the present worldwide energy demand. Large amounts of blue energy can also be made available from natural or industrial salt brines.
In the literature, several techniques for energy conversion of the salinity gradient have been proposed: pressure-retarded osmosis, reverse electrodialysis, and vapor-pressure difference utilization. The main drawback of these membrane-based conversion techniques was the high price of membranes. However, the decreasing prices of membranes for desalination and water reuse applications as well as the increasing prices of fossil fuels make salinity-gradient power attractive in near future. Pressure-retarded osmosis and reverse electrodialysis are the most frequently studied membrane-based processes for energy conversion of salinity-gradient energy.
In a pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO) system, defined as process of osmosis through a semipermeable membrane at a hydrostatic pressure difference between 0 and the osmotic pressure difference of the separated solutions, which generates a water flux against the hydrostatic pressure difference. Two solutions of different salinity are brought into contact by a semi – permeable membrane. This membrane allows the solvent (i.e. water) to permeate and retains the solute (i.e. dissolved salts). The chemical potential difference between the solutions causes transport of water from the diluted salt solution to the more concentrated salt solution. If hydrostatic pressure is applied to the concentrated solution, the water transport will be partly slow down. The transport of water from the low-pressure diluted solution to the high-pressure concentrated solution results in a pressurization of the volume of transported water. This pressurized...

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