The energy is based on the natural phenomenon osmosis , defined as the transport of water through a semi-permeable membrane. This is how plants can absorb moisture through their leaves – and retain it. When fresh water meets salt water, for instance where a river runs into the sea, enormous amounts of energy are released. This energy can be utilized for the generation of power through osmosis.At the osmotic power plant, fresh water and salt water are guided into separate chambers, divided by an artificial membrane. The salt molecules in the sea water pulls the freshwater through the membrane, increasing the pressure on the sea water side. The pressure equals a 120 metre water column, or a significant waterfall, and be utilized in a power generating turbine.
The membrane is the most essential component in the osmotic power system. Statkraft has been involved in the development of suitable membranes through several years, and in 2011 a cooperation with Nitto Denko, a world leader in membranes, were established.
Two years after the osmotic power prototype was opened at Tofte in Hurum, Statkraft has started to assess a location for a possible pilot facility of 1-2 MW. After a thorough process, Sunndalsøra in Møre og Romsdal County stands out as the best alternative.
Statkraft and Hydro-Québec have entered into a three-year agreement to speed up the development of osmotic power, a new renewable energy technology.
April 26th and 27th Statkraft will host the 3rd osmosis membrane summit in Barcelona, Spain. This is a follow up on the Summit at the AMTA conference in San Diego in July 2010.
(Oslo/Oceanside/Osaka 20 June 2011) Statkraft and Nitto Denko/Hydranautics have entered into an agreement for the development and supply of membranes for osmotic power. The agreement will accelerate the development of the new renewable energy.