Posted by: miktechnology | February 7, 2010

Osmotic Power Potential Questions and Answers

Osmotic Power Potential Questions and Answers

By: Maher Kelada- MIK Technology- Houston, Texas


1. What is the latest on the Statkraft project?
2. Is U.S. scrapping plans for the proposed plant in New Orleans?
3. Is the U.S. Navy has developed a process for generating power from water?
4. Is the U.S. Navy power generation based on osmosis energy generation?

MIK Technology Answers

1. Statkraft Osmotic Power Project Status:
To the best of my knowledge, a future full-scale plant is contemplated for producing 25 MW of electricity, enough to provide power for 30,000 European households, would be as large as a football stadium and requires some 5 million square meters of membrane. Statkraft is forecasting plant completion in 2015.

Membranes flux and fouling are issues, which are common problems in this field, but it appears that availability of potential energy to minimize pumping head requirements is a challenge. For example, consideration was given to build the proposed plant underground.

The attached figure was published by Statkraft earlier to depict this idea.

You may need also to refer to the attached site

2. Proposed US Osmotic Plant in New Orleans:
Sorry for the confusion. U.S. is not contemplating such a plant. I have postulated this example to explain the deficiency of the concept that promotes seawater-riverwater osmotic potential and the claims that this system will solve world energy crisis.

I doubt if the U.S. Government acknowledges that osmotic power is an energy source.  All the grants offered by the Department of Energy deals with conventional alternative energy; solar, wind, geothermal, OTEC, etc.

3. US Navy process for generating power from water
As reported in media, it seems that the U.S. Navy has commissioned an 8-megawatt for power and water desalination for its base on the island of Diego Garcia, in the Indian ocean. The plant is intended for energy security in this region and is based on OTEC technology (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) for energy security. This process relies on making the advantage of temperature difference between deep sea water and surface water (5 C -15 C), using heat engine, normally operated with ammonia as the heat transfer media. Here, when we talk energy security for the Navy fleet economics takes a back seat.

Other plants are in the works as well. The U.S. Navy is exploring the feasibility of an OTEC plant for its base on Guam, a South Pacific island. Recently US has offered Lockheed Martin in September 2009 a contract for US $8 million to develop Ocean thermal energy conversion system, OTEC system components and further mature its design for an OTEC pilot plant.

4. US Navy use of osmotic power
The electric ship vision is a new concept that is being discussed frequently in the recent years. As it appears, the US Navy is interest in modernizing their fleet by improving the fleet efficiency, less dependence on carbon-based fuel and significantly increase its electric power capability (generation and storage) to support modern armaments that rely on electric energy; lasers and others.

Regarding the use of osmotic pressure, this concept is still unknown here in U.S.  In fact, I am promoting this technology and eager to establish a salinity laboratory here in the States, hopefully with collaboration with academia and foresighted investors. This is an extensive field and will definitely impact the semipermeable membrane technology and market worldwide.

Hopefully soon, I will have an article discussing the “Osmotic Power Potential of the Great Salt Lake”

Few months ago, I have applied for a grant from the Navy regarding their solicitation of “New Concepts in Energy Conversion and Power Management.” It seems doubtful at this point that a grant will be awarded due to procedural issues.

In my grant application, I indicated that osmotic power is low density energy, requiring adequate space and source of energy; solar, waste, etc, that is not necessarily available on Navy attack ships such as destroyers and frigates.  However, it could be used as a land installation for the docking fleet and shipyards.  A reduced size closed type osmotic power generation can be potentially used on airplane carriers, since a large amount of waste fuel, spillage and human waste can be accumulated and used to generate steam, using a wet oxidation process.

Further, in analyzing power scenarios, it appears that four (4) GE LM2500 gas turbines are a common power generator in many of the US navy ships. Efficiency of a turbine of this kind is 37% generating useful power of 25 MW (33,600 shaft horsepower). If waste energy is not already recovered and efficiently reused, it would be prudent that the navy may consider a hybrid cogeneration power train (combined gas turbine for main propeller drive + exhaust heat boiler with steam turbine for electricity generation + electric energy storage).

Such combined system operates at relatively higher efficiency approaching 85%. This implies that at least an additional 25 MW can be recovered and stored in some storage means (batteries and capacitors) or used for driving additional electrically driven propeller(s).  In this case, only two cogeneration trains would be sufficient to meet ship propulsion power requirement. As important, this concept will insure higher efficiency, greater operation flexibility and maneuverability, as well as ample electric power for modern armaments, yet with economical service and less dependence on fossil fuels.

My regards and appreciation to all readers of my blog.

Maher Kelada


©2009-2010 MIK Technology. All Rights Reserved.



  1. fantastic post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

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