Sweetch & Rockwell Optimise Unique Zero-Carbon Electricity

Sweetch and Rockwell have joined forces to optimise osmotic power generation
French energy startup Sweetch Energy partners with Rockwell Automation to scale its innovative osmotic power technology, which generates power with water

Global leader in industrial automation and digital transformation Rockwell Automation is partnering with Sweetch Energy to revolutionise osmotic power generation. 

The collaboration between the industry giant and French start-up will see the implementation of Rockwell's advanced process control system and remote operations visualisation to enhance Sweetch Energy's efficiency and scalability on a global scale.

What is osmotic power generation?

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Also known as salinity gradient power or blue energy, osmotic power generation is a form of renewable energy that is generated by the difference in salt concentration between seawater and freshwater. 

In simple terms, the process harnesses the natural energy produced by mixing freshwater and seawater to generate electricity.

Sweetch Energy's Ionic Nano Osmotic Diffusion (INOD) technology is the first to commercialise the process of osmotic power generation on an industrial scale as despite being an abundant source of power, it was a previously untapped energy source. 

The company’s method, which only uses water, produces no chemical waste or pollutants and is a net-zero producer of electricity. One of its core benefits is the fact it is not dependent on weather, like many other renewable energy sources, so can generate clean energy non-stop. 

Co-Founder and CEO of Sweetch Energy Nicolas Heuzé said: “Our INOD technology addresses the need for clean, competitively priced electricity available 24/7. Osmotic energy, facilitated by INOD, is set to become a crucial component of the global energy mix.

Nicolas Heuzé, Co-Founder and CEO of Sweetch Energy

“Rockwell's expertise in process control, sustainability and global reach makes them an ideal partner.”

What are Sweetch’s plans for osmotic power technology?

Currently constructing its first osmotic demonstrator plant at the Barcarin lock in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, France, Sweetch plans to install multiple osmotic stations at the Rhône's mouth in a bid to produce up to 500MW of carbon-free electricity. 

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The power generated at this site has the ability to provide clean power to more than 1.5 million people — equivalent to the populations of cities like Marseille, Barcelona, Amsterdam or Montreal.

Rockwell’s technologies will automate, control and monitor Sweetch Energy’s system, optimising the process and power generation efficiency. 

“Sweetch Energy aligns with our dedication to sustainability and innovative technologies,” Eric Chalengeas, Regional VP, South Region at Rockwell Automation added. “We are thrilled to deploy our process solutions, visualisation technology and domain expertise in this groundbreaking project.”

How is Rockwell working toward net zero?

Eric Chalengeas, Regional VP, South Region at Rockwell Automation

Rockwell has worked on accelerating its ESG journey, announcing in 2020 its 10-year plan to be carbon neutral by 2030 across its Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Regarded as one of the world’s largest companies dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, Rockwell announced an agreement with 1PointFive earlier this year to purchase carbon dioxide removal (CDR) credits from its Direct Air Capture (DAC) facility under construction in Texas.

Tom O’Reilly, VP Sustainability at Rockwell Automation said: “Every day, we help tens of thousands of global customers achieve productivity and sustainability goals with data-driven solutions. As a global manufacturer, we have the same commitment-to make a positive impact on the world.”

Tom O’Reilly, VP Sustainability at Rockwell Automation

Alongside its net zero commitment by 2030, Rockwell has pledged to deliver a 0% increase in water use and recapture at least 85% of solid waste for reuse and recycling.

As part of its three ESG pillars, Rockwell has shaped its sustainability strategy to focus on three outcomes: sustainable customers, sustainable company and sustainable communities.

The company's sustainability portal says: “We believe the key to sustainability is information.

“Our commitment to ethics and integrity is a competitive advantage and a way to differentiate ourselves to our customers, partners, shareholders and employees.”

The brand continues to support others in renewable energy integration too, with smart grid development, energy management and optimisation in the oil and gas sector solutions among its portfolio. It also aids in energy storage and sustainability initiatives, contributing significantly to modernising energy infrastructure worldwide.

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