Scientific investigations on the theme of the project

The proposed project is a fundamental and innovative research that is in full compliance with one of the priorities of the European Union, namely the energetics. Among the main objectives on these lines is the use of renewable and/or clean energy sources to increase the energy efficiency.

The subjects of the proposed project cover precisely this priority research. The search of new technologies for renewable energy sources in recent years has been in the focus of attention of scientists worldwide. This is especially true for Europe, which has established itself as a pioneer and leader in a number of energy production technologies and energy efficiency.

One of the least studied and used methods for the production of green energy is based on the phenomenon of osmosis. The nature of this phenomenon consists in the following: If two solutions of different concentration are separated by a semipermeable membrane, the solution of lower concentration strives to penetrate through the membrane to equalize the concentration [1, 2, 3]. Osmotic pressure arises in the solution of higher concentration, and can reach very high levels.

Osmotic phenomena have not been sufficiently studied in depth. So far, the emphasis in the application of osmosis has been primarily on the purification and desalination of water. The world's first membrane for desalination based on osmosis was designed by Professor S. Loeb in the early 70s of the 20th century [4].

Leader in the use of osmotic processes as energy source is the Norwegian company Statkraft [5]. On the boundary between a river and the sea, the company developed and built in 2009 a power plant operating on the principle of osmotic pressure. Refinement of the technology and the equipment is planned to increase the produced energy to 10 kWh [6]. The company Statkraft estimates the potential of this type of energy of 1600-1700 TWh, which is about 10% of world electricity consumption or 50% of that in Europe [7]. Another technology, named reverse electrodialysis, was developed for electricity production by osmosis. [8].

There is no yet another team in Bulgaria, which works with set purpose on studying the processes for producing electrical energy based on osmosis, as well as searching for ways to use this clean and renewable energy source.

We shall point out at the following principal advantages of osmotic technology for electricity production: the osmotic process is continuous and ongoing renewable source of energy, independent of seasonal or climatic variations; there is no need for special fuel, it suffices to have two solutions of different concentrations, and to maintain optimal concentration and temperature; the production of such energy does not yield harmful waste products.

For several years, members of our team have carried out theoretical research on osmotic processes. Some of the works were presented at scientific conferences and published [9, 10]. Along the theoretical research, our team member, Assoc. Prof. Kiril Kolikov PhD, has invented a device for membrane separation and selective treatment of industrial fluids and bio-objects, with which studies of the osmotic-electromagnetic processes can be carried out [Patent № 110-149, stated 29.05.2008].

Unlike our previous investigations, with this project we aim to study and find a way to use the energy potential of the phenomenon. Our idea is to develop an osmotic method for power production. The introduction of such a new technology can solve some of our needs of "green energy", which until 2020, according to European directives should reach 16% of the total electricity consumption in the country. Thus, full compliance of the project objectives will be achieved with the national and international priorities in the field of energy.
 

Bibliography:

[1] Кузнецов, В. В., Усть-Качкинцев, В. Ф. Физическая и коллоидная химия. Москва, Высшая школа, 1976.

[2] L. D. Landau and E.M. Lifshitz, Fluid Mechanics, Pergamon Pr; 2nd edition, 1987.

[3] P.W.Atkins, Physical Chemistry, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1993.

[4] S. Loeb, “Osmotic Power Plants”, Science, 1975, vol.189, pp. 654-655.

[5] Stein Erik Skilhagen, Jon E. Dugstad, Rolf Jarle Aaberg, “Osmotic power — power production based on the osmotic pressure difference between waters with varying salt gradients” Desalination 220 (2008) 476–482.

[6] http//:www.statkraft.com

[7] Thor Thorsen, Torleif Holt, “The potential for power production from salinity gradients by pressure retarded osmosis” Journal of Membrane Science 335 (2009) 103–110.

[8] Kwang Seok Kim, Won Ryoo, Myung-Suk Chun, Gui-Yung Chung, and Seung Oh Lee. Transport analysis in reverse electrodialysis with pulsatile flows for enhanced power generation. Korean J. Chem. Eng., 29(2), 162-168 (2012) DOI: 10.1007/s11814-011-0198-y

[9] Krustev G. А., Kolikov К. Ch., Hristozov D. D., Peeva Е. I. Universal osmotic-electromagnetic method for studying and healing living organisms. Пловдив, Научни трудове на СУБ Пловдив, сер. Б, Естествени и хуманитарни науки, т. 10, 2008.

[10] Кирил Коликов, Диана Дакова, Димо Христозов, Стефан Божков. Нов тегловен осмотичен метод и устройство. Scientific Researches of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria – Plovdiv, Series B, Natural Sciences and the Humanities, vol. XIII, p. 101-108, 2012. ISSN 1311-9192.