While not a new concept, battery powered electricity is being created through salinity (salt) levels in salt water and fresh water. One common method is through osmosis. There are other ways though, which scientists at Stanford have discovered. Their team will be working on a new type of battery that uses nanotechnology and slightly altered concepts to produce even more energy with less time and money.
Yi Cui, Associate Professor of the Materials Science and Engineering Department, is working with other Stanford scientists in this endeavor. Their plan is to filter fresh water surrounding a battery, with salt water, which will cause the battery to produce higher voltages; when the battery reaches a low charge, the salt water is replaced by fresh water, effectively recharging it and starting the cycle over.
The downside is that this type of procedure requires two components to be ready at all times: salt water and fresh water. This is found in limited areas, typically at river mouths near oceans. With even just a few facotires made nationwide, we could see a much cheaper way to gather renewable energy without much effort in comparison. However, we'll have to wait for Cui and the Stanform team to finish perfecting their battery.
Sources: ACS.org, gizmag.com
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