You can generate electricity by the difference in composition between seawater and river water. However, the technology required for this has so far been very expensive. New research into solving membrane contamination may be able to change this.
Blue energy can be one of the solutions within the energy transition. It is sustainable and also more stable than solar and wind energy. The river can produce as much power as fast as a hydroelectric plant with a 142-meter waterfall. But technology also faces many challenges. For example, the costs of the membranes used are high and the current yield also needs to be improved.
One of the things that could hinder this crop – and thus increase costs as well – is membrane contamination. If the particles that are naturally present in fresh and salt water accumulate, the conductive effect of the membranes may decrease.
So a new study looked at how to prevent this contamination. It provided a method for monitoring the state of the membranes in real time and continuously, as well as a coating that prevents contamination as much as possible. In the future, they hope, among other things, to link the monitoring to the AI model, so that it will be possible to better consider the factors and materials that affect installation and better predict when it is necessary to clean the membranes.
In this audio you can hear researcher Diego Bentosi from Eindhoven University of Technology and Witsos. Read more about the research here: The hidden power of fresh and salt water. Here you will find the paper: Contamination in reverse electrolysis: monitoring, modeling and control. More information about installing the test on Afsluitdijk can be found in this video: