Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis

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Researchers at EPFL are working on a technology to exploit osmotic energy – a source of power that’s naturally available at estuaries, where fresh water comes into contact with seawater. In a laboratory experiment, the team reproduced the real-world conditions that occur where rivers meet the sea (pH and salt concentration) and showed that, by shining light on a system comprising salt, water and a membrane three atoms thick, it was possible to optimize electricity production.

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