Most devices that transport bulk fluids make use of pressure gradients ('pumps') or external forces (e.g. gravity powers hydro-electric turbines). Increasingly, modern technology is addressing problems where fluid transport takes place in sub-micron sized channels, or in pores. The physical laws of transport in such channels are qualitatively different from those that determine bulk flow; they are poorly understood and, importantly, barely exploited. The aim of the proposed research is to lay the basis for an entire novel technology where thermal gradients and concentration gradients along nano-sized channels are harnessed to drive devices that have no equivalent on the macroscopic scale. As we argue, such gradient-driven surface flows ('phoretic' flows) offer a huge scope for fundamental advances with very significant technological implications. In particular, we envisage breakthroughs in the area of energy extraction from salinity gradients ('blue energy'), ultra-filtration and desalination, and the development of novel, highly sensitive protein-separation devices. This new approach is required to surpass the intrinsic limitations of current technologies. The expected huge improvement in efficiency will be a game changer and will break the current barriers in the development of technologies such as e.g. osmotic energy harvesting. The very breadth of scope of these applications indicates the wide relevance of the subject. Yet, the applications all share the same underlying science and can therefore be addressed by the team that collaborates in this proposal. Our project targets the development of ground-breaking and commercializable technologies in two key areas and is based on a dual-track approach: We will use a combination of basic theory and well-designed experiments to arrive at a quantitative prediction of phoretic phenomena. In parallel, we will engage with industrial partners inside the team and with new partners that we will approach through our Knowledge Transfer Facilitator, to translate basic science into proofs-of-principle, pilot plants and, subsequently, full scale applications. The potential economic impact of phoretic technologies is difficult to over-estimate: the research is truly high-risk, high-yield. By targeting two diverse applications, we exploit the generic nature of the underlying science. The quality and interdisciplinary nature of the team mitigates the risk of failure.