Technical feasibility of energy conversion from salinity gradients along the Ducth coast

A case study at IJmuiden

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Abstract

In the mixing process of water with different salinities a large amount of energy is released, which is normally converted into heat if fresh water rivers enter estuaries and seas. This energy, often referred to as Blue Energy, may be extracted by two different processes: Reversed Electrodialysis (RED) or Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO). The Netherlands has a number of locations where large fresh water flows enter saline water bodies via man-made structures, creating opportunities for Blue Energy applications. This paper investigates the hydrodynamic and mass transfer processes at two different scales, the estuarine scale and the membrane module scale, for a specific site in The Netherlands: IJmuiden. The physics at these two very different scales both play a role in the performance of a potential Blue Energy power plant.

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