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IIT Madras Working Creating “Blue Energy” From Estuaries


Dr. Vishal Nandigana, an IIT-M researcher is working on a novel technology that generates electricity from estuaries.

Product or concept

Uses a semi-permeable membrane to separate salt and freshwater to produce power.

Problem being solved

Reduces dependency on conventional fuels/ energy sources.

Process or technology involved

Osmotic Power Technology involves the following processes:

  • Technology was first discovered in 1954, where water is pumped into a pressure chamber with a semipermeable membrane.
  • Pressure increases when water with high, low or no salinity separates.
  • This is used to drive a turbine to generate electricity.
  • The semipermeable membrane developed at IIT Madras uses a molybdenum sulphide compound.

Sustainability benefits

Benefit of osmotic power generation is that estuaries where sea and fresh water meet can be used to generate power.

User segments that will benefit


Technology Innovators

Renewable Energy Companies

People or organizations involved

Prof Vishal Nandigana,

Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras.

Innovations or USPs

  • While the osmotic power plants have been in use since 2009, the major challenge has been scalability – which is addressed by the team at IIT Madras – Their plant has increased power generation due to the use of single atomic layer of molybdenum di-sulphide, which is ion-selective, as a semi-permeable membrane.
  • Increases the voltage generated by the osmotic pressure due to the ionic current produced.

Related engineering, science or business topics

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy

Awards & recognitions

  • Dr. Vishal Nandigana has been awarded the Bharat Guarav Award for his academic excellence during his undergraduate and graduate studies by the India International Friendship Society (IIFS)
  • Dr. Vishal Nandigana’s articles have been published in the prestigious Nature Review Materials International Journal.

Institute located at:



Blue Energy- Salinity gradient power | ACCIONA Imnovation

Earthrise - How it Works: Osmotic Power

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IIT Madras faculty works on breakthrough technology to derive power from estuaries : The article talks about the innovation in the osmotic power breakthrough of IIT Madras' team lead by Dr. Vishal Nandigana.

IIT-Madras researchers develop AI software to engineering problems : Dr. Vishal Nandigana also has a deep seated interest in developing hardware and software AI algorithms to solve engineering problems.

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This Power Generator Runs on Saltwater : The article talks about osmotic power and its relevance to common people's perception of renewable energy sources.

Electricity generated with water, salt and a three-atoms-thick membrane : The article takes a look at the latest innovations taking place in osmotic power around the world.