First osmotic power plant opens in Norway
Statkraft prototype facility examines membrane efficiencies
Europe’s largest renewable energy firm, Statkraft, has opened the world’s first osmotic power plant in Norway.
Although the prototype plant only produces around 2-4kW of power at the moment, the company is using the facility to improve the efficiency of the membrane from around 1 watt per square metre to around 5 watts per square metre, which Statkraft says would make osmotic power costs comparable to other renewable energy sources.
The process involves using the pressure created by osmotic forces between seawater and fresh water to drive a turbine.
Statkraft aims to begin building commercial osmotic power plants in Norway by 2015, although future 25MW plants would need around 5 million m², according to Reuters.
The global production capacity for osmotic energy could amount to 1,600-1,700 TWh annually, Statkraft said, or about half of the European Union's total electricity demand.