World’s first osmotic power plant
Norway-based company Statkraft has just opened the world’s first osmotic power plant, tapping into the emissions-free energy produced when fresh water and salt water mix. Osmotic power harnesses osmosis, the natural process by which a solute in solution travels from an area of lower to higher concentration across a semi-permeable membrane (permeable to the solvent but not the solute). In the case of osmotic power, the combination of salt water and fresh water produces movement from areas of lower to higher salinity. Osmotic pressure created during this process is the potential force that can be used to power energy generation turbines in an osmotic power plant.
The Statkraft plant is being opened as a testing site for the technology, but it has the potential to output up to 1,600-1,700 terawatt-hours per year, or approximately 50% of the European Union’s total power production.