Water Salination: A Source of Energy

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Science  25 Oct 1974:
Vol. 186, Issue 4161, pp. 350-352
DOI: 10.1126/science.186.4161.350


The thermodynamically reversible mixing of freshwater and seawater at constant temperature releases free energy. Salination power as a resource is comparable with hydroelectric power in magnitude; U.S. freshwater runoff could yield over 1010 watts. The energy flux available for natural salination is equivalent to each river in the world ending at its mouth in a waterfall 225 meters high. An osmotic salination converter could possibly operate at 25 percent efficiency. This energy source is renewable and nonpolluting. Although its full utilization would destroy estuarine environments, it might be practical for specialized purposes.

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