It is imperative that new and ecologically acceptable energy sources are made available. Solar energy is a source which seems to be inexhaustible and free of pollution hazards. One vast source, which can be considered to be a solar energy source consists of the system fresh water/sea water. Fresh water is continually removed by the hydrological cycle where water evaporates from the ocean due to solar radiation and is eventually precipitated again in the form of fresh water feeding various rivers. Fresh water and ocean (salt) water mix when rivers flow into the oceans. The different chemical potentials are equalized due to this mixing in estuaries not producing any work similarly as when gas escapes into a vacuum. However, the difference in chemical potentials of sea water and fresh water can be utilized and made to produce work if the mixing is allowed to proceed via semi- permeable membranes, that is to say if use is made of the osmotic process. This would be equivalent to producing work letting steam move a piston which has a counter pressure slightly lower than the steam pressure. This work can be transformed into electrical energy. In other words use is made of the osmotic process.

Meeting Name

2nd Annual UMR-MEC Conference on Energy (1975: Oct. 7-9, Rolla, MO)

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings


Chemical Energy Conversion

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 1976 University of Missouri--Rolla, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

09 Oct 1975