Nitto Denko Corp has formed an agreement to collaborate on the development of osmotic power plants with Norwegian state-owned utility Statkraft AS. The two partners plan to have a 2 MW-class pilot plant ready to operate starting in 2015.

Osmotic power exploits the salinity gradient between freshwater and seawater. It generates electricity via turbines spun by the pressure created when freshwater flows through a semi-permeable membrane between volumes of water at different salinities.

Statkraft has made significant progress in the development of osmotic power, but the key to the entire process is high-performance membranes that can separate freshwater from seawater.

Nitto Denko is a leading maker of reverse-osmosis membranes. In teaming with Statkraft, the company will accelerate its efforts to develop membrane technologies for osmotic power systems and become the exclusive supplier of the membranes to Statkraft.

There are estimated to be more than 30 locations in the world that would be suitable for the installation of 25 MW-class osmotic power plants.