Dutch News

26 November 2014
Dutch King opens the world's first osmotic power installation

This afternoon the Dutch King Willem-Alexander opens the Blue Energy energy plant in the Afluitdijk, the dike that closes off the North Sea from the IJsselmeer, the largest fresh water lake in Western Europe. With this osmotic power plant energy is harvested by passing salt water through a membrane to mix with fresh water. With the ‘blue energy’ plant the Dutch have a world première.

Blue Energy is a name scientists gave to salinity gradient energy, which is basically harvesting energy from mixing salt and fresh water. It's not a new idea. Salinity power came out of attempts in the 1950s, to extract drinking water from the sea. Fifty years on and the technology is finally at its next stage. It is the plan to build thousands of these innovative salinity power plants in the IJsselmeer dike. This would generate enough energy for all the households of the three Northern provinces. But environmentalists have objections, since the fine membranes also filter out plankton, fish and mussel larva.


In 2011 the Dutch cabinet approved funding totalling 20 million Euros for sustainable energy projects on the Afsluitdijk, the 32-kilometre barrier that closed off the Zuiderzee from the open sea to create what is now the freshwater IJsselmeer Lake. The sustainable energy funding comes as part of a renovation package to increase the safety of the Aflsuitdijk, which was completed in 1932. In its present state the barrier can no longer guarantee protection against high water.


Blue Energy is a project developed by REDstack, FUJIFILM and the water technology knowledge centre Wetsus.



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