Oil Report

Norway to build world's first osmotic power plant

OSLO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Norwegian utility Statkraft said it would build the world’s first prototype osmotic power plant next year, tapping a promising new renewable and clean energy source.

Osmotic power is based on the process of osmosis -- or the movement of water across a partially permeable membrane.

In an osmotic power plant, sea water and fresh water are separated by a membrane. The sea water draws the fresh water through the membrane, thereby increasing the pressure on the sea water side. The increased pressure is used to produce power.

“The global technical potential for osmotic power production is estimated at around 1600 Terawatt hours, including around 200 TWh in Europe and 12 TWh in Norway, or 10 percent of Norway’s current power production,” Statkraft said on Wednesday.

With the decision to build the prototype, which will produce 2-4 kilowatts of energy, Statkraft’s investment into the technology will top 100 million crowns ($18.43 million).

“Osmotic power is a very promising technology in which we are global leaders,” Statkraft Chief Executive Baard Mikkelsen said. “It is clean and emission-free, and could become competitive within a few years.”

The prototype will be built at a paper pulp manufacturer’s plant in Hurum, near Oslo. The location will provide the plant with an ample supply of fresh water and sea water, along with access to infrastructure.

Statkraft, owned by the Norwegian government, specialises in hydropower and has also set up wind power projects.