Norway opens the world's first osmotic power plant.
The plant is driven by osmosis that naturally draws fresh water across a membrane and toward the seawater side. This creates higher pressure on the sea water side, driving a turbine and producing electricity.
At first the plant will be producing a very small amount of power -- enough to run a coffee maker. A full-size plant would be the size of a football stadium and produce enough electricity for 30,000 European households; much of the engineering challenge, it seems, is to work on the membrane itself, trying to make it smaller and more efficient. The process would then be possible anywhere there is seawater.
Europe's osmotic power potential is seen at 180 TWh, or about 5 percent of total consumption -- which could help the bloc reach renewable energy goals set to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases and limit global warming.
I'm interested in all of these renewable sources of energy; seeing our friends from Iceland recently reminded me of the potential of geo-thermal energy, a source which is also being explored in Canada.