Statkraft's osmotic prototype at Tofte just outside Oslo.
The power plant uses osmosis that occurs when fresh water and salt water meet, separated by a permeable membrane. The salt water pulls fresh water through the membrane and the pressure increase in the salt water side; this pressure increase can be used to produce electrical power with the use of a normal hydroelectric turbine/generator setup.
The plant is a prototype developed together with Sintef and began test power production on 24 November 2009. This plant utilise 10 litres of fresh water and 20 litres of salt water per second. It has a power output of between 2-4 kW, but with better membranes the power output can be increased to about 10 kW.
The prototype was the first complete osmotic power system installed globally. Statkrafts objectives for building the facility was to verify that the concept of osmotic power can generate electricity from mixing fresh water and sea water. Further, the prototype give an opportunity to test new technology and make improvement to the system. Last, but as important, Statkraft can build experience in operation and maintenance at the osmotic power plant.