Last wednesday, Oktober 26th 2014, the worlds first blue-powerplant was opened in the Netherlands on the Afsluitdijk. The Afsluitdijk dams off the Zuiderzee and is a salt water inlet of the North Sea. Because of the Afsluitdijk the IJsselmeer lake is the largest fresh water basin of the Netherlands. Another function of the dike is the connection it makes between Friesland and North Holland (Yes cars drive over the dike).
It’s a pretty cool story actually, as it seems that where salt water and fresh water meet it’s possible to generate energy out of this. Never heard of it before, but it sure sounds like a pretty safe and green way to to get energy. So how does it work? Well salt water has a lot more charged salt particles, ions, than fresh water. If you separate the salt and fresh water by a special filter that only allows either positive or negative charged particles through then the difference in tension generates energy. Well yes, I read it too but still don’t quite understand, but I get a basic grasp. The plant at the Afsluitdijk is actually a test installation that allows scientists to further explore this way of generating energy. According to calculation the Afsluitdijk should be able to power about 500,0000 households.
Its a really promising way of meeting the energy demand of the Dutch as there are a lot more places where salt and fresh water meet in the Netherlands. And it’s a cheaper way to generate energy then solar power or wind energy (and also not dependent on the weather).