It’s still very early, but interest is growing in technologies to make electricity from osmosis. Osmotic-power technologies capture energy created when salt water and fresh water mix, a process that happens naturally in deltas and estuaries around the world. But can these technologies overcome efficiency, cost and scale-up challenges quickly enough to be commercially viable and make a difference?
Who are the leading vendors, and where are the opportunities today? Read this report by Kachan & Co.
Osmotic Power: A Primer
Examining the opportunities and risks of making baseload power from osmosis
A report by Kachan & Co., June 2010.
Osmotic technologies can capture energy created when salt water and fresh water meet, which happens naturally where rivers meet oceans around the world.
Osmotic power can theoretically be produced at many of the world’s deltas and estuaries. And unlike solar and wind power, which are intermittent and require storage to approach dispatchability, osmotic power should be feasible 24 hours a day and wouldn't be dependent on large visible arrays of hardware in fields or hillsides.
And that makes it potentially worth three times more than solar and wind power, according to experts interviewed by Kachan & Co.
The market potential for osmotic power, according to supporters, is huge. But can these technologies overcome efficiency, cost and scale challenges quickly enough to be commercially viable? When?
This report looks at the two main types of osmotic-power plants currently being developed: pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO) and reverse electrodialysis (RED). It explains how they work, summarizes the technologies’ advantages and drawbacks, and identifies leading companies worldwide. It also makes specific recommendations for investors, entrepreneurs, service providers, utilities and large corporations, and desalination DBOs and plant owners.
Kachan & Co. conducted interviews with leading vendors, consulting scientists, investors and others, and synthesized secondary research for this report.
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"Proponents think [osmotic power] holds the promise to provide thousands of terawatts per year of baseload power—electricity available 24 hours a day, year round."
-From the report