Norway opens world's first osmotic power plant prototype

Nov 27, 2009 01:00 AM

Norwegian renewable energy giant Statkraft has switched on the world's first osmotic power plant prototype -- using a technology which produces electricity from a process which mixes fresh water and salty sea water.
The 10-kilowatt capacity plant, located at Tofte, near Oslo, will use a two-chamber system in which freshwater and seawater are mixed through a semi-permeable membrane to generate pressure-driven electricity.

Statkraft has been developing the concept, known as pressure retarded osmosis for some 10 years in collaboration with Norwegian research and development group SINTEF.
"This new technology generates electricity simply by mixing water. New solutions to meet the climate challenges might be closer than we expect, which makes me confident that the future looks bright," says Statkraft chief executive Bard Mikkelsen.

The prototype, which will have a limited production capacity to start -- between 2-4 kW -- to start, is intended primarily for testing and development purposes.The longer term aim is to construct a commercial osmotic power plant by 2015.
Norway's Crown Princess, her Royal Highness Mette-Marit, cut the ribbon to open the prototype plant. Statkraft calculates global potential of osmotic power at 1,600-1,700 TWh a year, equivalent to 50 % of the EU's total power production.

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