Statkraft to build world's first osmotic power plant

03.10.2007 08.00 | pressrelease

Statkraft has decided to build the world's first prototype osmotic power plant. The company is also stepping up its initiatives to develop the technology further. Osmotic power is a renewable energy source. Calculations indicate that the technology could contribute around 1,600 TWh on a global basis annually.

Osmotic power is based on the natural process of osmosis. 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.

After ten years of research and development, Statkraft believes the time is now right to build the first osmotic power plant prototype and is therefore stepping up its initiatives and investments to develop the technology. With this decision Statkraft will have invested more than NOK 100 million to develop a new, renewable energy technology. The research work is supported by The Research Council of Norway.

The global technical potential for osmotic power production is estimated at around 1600 TWh, including around 200 TWh in Europe and 12 TWh in Norway, or 10 percent of Norway’s current power production. The innovation has already attracted attention in the international energy community.

"We take the task of providing pure energy seriously, and osmotic power is a very promising technology in which we are global leaders. It is clean and emission-free, and could become competitive within a few years,” remarked Statkraft's CEO, Bård Mikkelsen.

The prototype will provide Statkraft with a better understanding of the challenges involved in developing osmotic power technology and represents a necessary platform for the further development of the technology. The prototype plant will be built at the paper pulp manufacturer Södra Cell Tofte’s plant at Hurum in Buskerud, Norway. The location will provide the osmotic plant with a good supply of fresh water and sea water, along with access to the established infrastructure. Statkraft is very satisfied with the location and the collaboration with a company with a green environmental profile and a major focus on renewable energy.

The construction of the prototype is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. The osmotic power plant will produce between 2-4 kW of energy.

The Statkraft Group is a leading player in Europe within renewable energy. The Group generates hydropower, wind power and district heating and constructs gas power plants in Norway and Germany. Statkraft is a major player on the European energy exchanges. In Norway the company supplies electricity and heat to around 600,000 customers through its shareholdings in other companies. In 2006 Statkraft recorded a profit after tax of NOK 6.3 billion, and employed more than 2,100 employees in nine countries. The world needs pure energy. Statkraft works to deliver this every day.