Blue may very well be the new green in energy. A team of Ph.D. students working in the lab of mechanical engineer Jerry Wei-Jen Shan at Rutgers University has unlocked a startling new potential for the energy sector, and nuclear power plants in particular. Colloquially known as “Blue Energy”, this idea focuses on the energy potential available within the chemical interplay of fresh and saltwater—where the ions inherent in salt compounds, either positive or negative, break apart and move of their own volition in water. Within that body of water, if positively charged ions are funneled to one side of a membrane, they will drag the already present negatively charge ions to one side, thus creating two separate pools of water with opposite charges. Electricity, researchers have long theorized, could be generated by placing electrodes into both pools and encouraging the electrons to flow from the negative pool to the positive one. Well, their theory was finally proven correct—only they severely underestimated the titanic amount of energy that would be produced.

When the Rutgers team streamlined an already existing technique of using boron nitride nanotubes (BNNT’s) to stimulate the electrons within the water, they were shocked to discover a potential energy output of nearly 2.6 terawatts—or what would approximately equate to the generation of 2000 nuclear power plants combined! The real-world applications are even more interesting considering these interchanges between salt and freshwater occur naturally all over the planet where river estuaries dump some 37,000 kilometers of freshwater per year into the oceans. And as we know, nuclear plants require a nearby body of water to operate.

While blue energy at this stage is obviously just crawling out of its eureka phase, its potential to significantly alter our global energy landscape is certainly something to watch with interest in the coming years.

At OTEK we pride ourselves on keeping an eye toward the future with innovation for the now. That’s why we’ve been committed to helping the industrial, military, and nuclear industries modernize with digital instrumentation in the face of growing analog obsolescence. In all three of those industries, the Yokogawa/General Electric 180 analog meter has been a mainstay for decades along with innumerable applications. Nothing, however, lasts forever—that’s how our NTM-9 model was born from our flagship product line, the New Technology Series.

Using the same vertical design, NTM-9 functions as a 100% Form, Fit, and Function replacement for the Yokogawa 180/GE180 for Class1E safety-related and nuclear-qualified applications, as well as Mil-specs 461, 167-1, 810, 901, and IE EE344 respectively. The -9 features an automatic tricolor bar with intensity control, 4 digits at 0.3”, input fail alarm with runtime stamp, self-diagnostics, isolated serial I/O (USB, RS485), a configurable bar direction, math functions, 4-20mA/30V output, 4 relay options, and OTEK’s lifetime warranty.

While we’re all waiting on the potential of blue energy to be truly unlocked, you don’t have to wait on new and innovative digital technology with OTEK. For more information on the NTM-9 or any of our cutting-edge technology email our sales team or call 520-748-7900.

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