An unexploited technology with the potential to provide 50% of the electricity used in the European Union every year? That’s osmotic power–the energy generated when saltwater and freshwater are mixed. Today in Norway, a company called Statkraft is unveiling the world’s first prototype osmotic power plant.

According to a release, osmotic power plants can be located anywhere freshwater runs into the sea; they produce no noise or polluting emissions and can be integrated into existing industrial zones, such as in the basements of industrial buildings.The plant generates power by exploiting the energy available when fresh water and seawater are mixed, resulting in a renewable and emissions-free energy source–one that Statkraft has been researching for the past 10 years.The prototype osmotic plant will have a limited production capacity and is intended primarily for testing and development purposes, with the aim of constructing a commercial osmotic power plant within a few years’ time.

image via Statkraft
image via Statkraft

“This new technology generates electricity simply by mixing water. New solutions to meet the climate challenges might be closer than we expect, which makes me confident that the future looks bright,” says Statkraft CEO and President, Bard Mikkelen. Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway will be in attendance at the opening of the plant at Tofte, outside Oslo, as well as several foreign guests.

Statkraft [via press release]

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