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November 25, 2009

Osmotic energy

Norway's Statkraft Osmotic power plant is a prototype for generating electricity from an interaction between fresh water and sea water.

"It is a form of renewable energy which, unlike solar or wind power, produces a predictable and stable amount of energy regardless of the weather," explained Stein Erik Skilhagen, in charge of the project at state-owned Statkraft, which specialises in renewable energies.

Osmotic energy is based on the principle that nature is constantly seeking balance, and plays on the different concentration levels of liquids.

When freshwater and seawater meet on either side of a membrane -- a thin layer that retains salt but lets water pass -- freshwater is drawn towards the seawater side. The flow puts pressure on the seawater side, and that pressure can be used to drive a turbine, producing electricity.

Just enough to power a coffee maker at the moment but an idea with some potential. Or we could just drill, drill, drill. You know, like the Norwegians do.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at November 25, 2009 09:24 AM