Statkraft has been researching osmotic power since 1997 and has developed this prototype in cooperation with R&D organisations from many countries. The prototype generates power by exploiting the energy available when fresh water and seawater are mixed.

“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 CEO and President, Bård Mikkelsen.

At the osmotic power plant, fresh water and salt water are guided into separate chambers, divided by an artificial membrane. The salt molecules in the sea water pulls the freshwater through the membrane, increasing the pressure on the sea water side. The pressure equals a 120 metre water column, or a significant waterfall, and be utilized in a power generating turbine.

The prototype will have a limited production capacity and is intended primarily for testing and development purposes. The aim is to be capable of constructing a commercial osmotic power plant within a few years’ time.

The global potential of osmotic power is estimated to be 1600-1700 TWh per annum, equivalent to 50% of the EU’s total power production. Osmotic power plants can, in principle, be located wherever fresh water runs into the sea; they produce no noise or polluting emissions and they can be integrated into existing industrial zones, for example, in the basements of industrial buildings.

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