Quest for Renewable Energy Gets Salty

Nov. 28, 2007
Norway begins building the first miniature seawater power station.

As the world beefs up its search for the perfect renewable energy source of the future, Norwegian company Statkraft says the answer may have been on the tip of our tongues all along: salt. The publicly-held energy company aims to begin building the world's first miniature seawater power station next year along the banks of the Oslo fjord.

"Osmotic" power is a clean energy source that according to Statkraft could theoretically supply 1,600 TWh (teraWatt-hours) worldwide, or about half of Europe's current energy consumption. "It is totally CO2-free," Statkraft's new energy business developer Jon Dugstad told AFP.

"The only thing we do is that we mix fresh water and sea water. We don't add anything in that process, which is a completely natural process," he added, pointing out that the power is created anywhere where rivers run into the sea. Osmotic power takes advantage of the different salt concentrations in liquids: When saltwater and freshwater are separated using a filter called a semi-permeable membrane, the water containing the least salt naturally migrates towards the saltwater, creating pressure that can be transformed into energy.

In a small factory in the southern Norwegian town of Hurum, Statkraft is planning to build a miniature osmotic power station capable of pumping out between two and four kWh (kiloWatt-hours), just enough to keep a few light bulbs burning. If the experiment works, the company is considering building a larger-scale station capable of producing between 160 and 170 GWh (gigaWatt-hours), or enough to cover the electricity needs of about 15,000 households.

Osmotic power could become competitive around 2015, according to Statkraft.

Europe, North America, South Africa and certain parts of South America are expected to be the most fertile markets for osmotic power.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

Powering Up Productivity: The Transformative Power of AP Automation in Manufacturing

Oct. 25, 2023
Discover how AP Automation is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, driving efficiency, cost savings, and security. In today's world, automation is the key to staying competitive...

Beware Extreme Software

Sept. 24, 2023
As a manufacturer, you understand the importance of staying ahead of the curve and being proactive in your approach to technology. With the rapid pace of change in the industry...

3D Printing a More Efficient Factory Floor

Nov. 16, 2023
Today’s additive manufacturing platforms make it simple to print a wide range of high-performing industrial parts as soon as possible and right where you need them — unlocking...

How to Build Zero-Cost On-Site Solar and Storage Projects

Nov. 25, 2023
The Inflation Reduction Act offers tax credits, incentives, and financing that enable no-cost projects. In Enel’s eBook, discover the critical role that incentives play in your...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!