Pressure Power Launches
03 Mar 2010
The world’s first osmotic power plant has opened in Tofte in Norway. When sea and fresh water are mixed, the energy created can be used to generate power.
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The world’s first osmotic power plant has opened in Tofte, outside Oslo in Norway. Power is generated by exploiting the energy available when sea and fresh water are mixed.
A prototype,it is intended primarily for testing and development purposes, having a limited production capacity of up to about four kilowatts – roughly enough to run a kettle. It is operated by Statkraft, Europe’s largest renewable energy company, whose aim is to build a commercial osmotic plant within a few years’ time.
This system works by channelling the fresh and salt water into separate chambers, divided in two by an artificial membrane. Through the natural phenomenon known as osmosis, salt molecules draw the freshwater through the membrane. This diffusion of fluid increases the pressure in the seawater chamber to a level equating the power of a significant waterfall. The pressure can then be harnessed in a turbine to generate electricity.
Osmotic power is a renewable and emission-free energy source, with the potential to meet 50 per cent of the European Union’s total power needs, Statkraft claim. The plants can also, in principle, be stationed wherever fresh water runs naturally into the sea and will produce no noise or pollution.
“We are proud to be presenting a renewable energy source which has never been harnessed until now,” says Statkraft chief executive officer, BÂrd Mikkelsen. “New solutions to meet the climate challenges might well be closer than we expected. It makes me confident that the future looks bright.”
Contact: Statkraft UK Ltd.,
26-28 Hammersmith Grove, London, W6 7BA
Tel: +44 (0)20 8834 1051
The official opening was conducted
by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess
Mette-Marit of Norway. The first power
generated was used to make a nice cup of tea
Photo: copyright statkraft
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