Norwegian energy company Statkraft has opened the world's first osmotic power station.
The prototype generates power by exploiting the energy available when fresh water and seawater are mixed. Osmotic power is a renewable and emissions-free energy source that Statkraft has been researching into for 10 years and that will be capable of making a substantial global contribution to eco-friendly power production.
The global potential of osmotic power is estimated to be 1,600-1,700 TWh per annum, equivalent to 50 percent 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.
"This new technology generates electricity simply by mixing water," says Statkraft CEO and President, Bard Mikkelsen. "New solutions to meet the climate challenges might be closer than we expect, which makes me confident that the future looks bright."
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.
"Innovative energy solutions are essential to meet the climate challenges, and I am pleased that a Norwegian company is a front runner in developing these technologies," says Terje Riis-Johansen, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy.
Statkraft says it has been researching osmotic power since 1997.