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Posted Mon Jul 5 2010: from Chemical and Engineering News:
Power From Entropy
During lectures, Bert Hamelers displays two photos side by side: One is of the Hoover Dam, a thundering cascade of water. The other is of the River Rhine flowing gently into the North Sea. It might not seem intuitive, but each system has comparable power-generating capacity, says Hamelers, an assistant professor at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands. The Hoover Dam already generates enormous amounts of hydroelectricity every day. Scientists could extract just as much power by harnessing the entropy created when the Rhine's fresh waters mix with salty waters, he says. In Environmental Science and Technology (DOI: 10.1021/es100852a), Hamelers and colleagues introduce a new technology to convert into electricity the entropy created when two solutions of different salt concentrations come together.
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As freshwater ice melts into the ocean, think of the possibilities!

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