Osmotic powerplant prototype opened

The world’s first prototype osmotic powerplant was opened on 24 November 2009 in Norway by Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

The plant generates power by exploiting the energy available when fresh water and seawater are mixed. Norwegian power producer Statkraft has been researching this renewable and emissions-free energy source since 1997 and says that it will be capable of making a substantial global contribution to eco-friendly power production.

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 1,600-1,700 TWh/year, equivalent to 50% of the EU’s total power production. Osmotic powerplants 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.

Statkraft has developed this prototype in cooperation with R&D organisations from many countries. The project has attracted a lot of international interest, and several foreign guests are attending the opening.