Science - October 20, 2016

A touch of Wageningen in the national icon Blue Energy

Albert Sikkema

Yesterday, the government declared REDstack’s Blue Energy to be a national icon. The company generates electricity from the difference in potential between fresh water and salt water. The foundation of this technology was laid by Wageningen environmental technologists working at the Wetsus water institute.

The minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, announced the three new National Icons during the televised talk show De Wereld Draait Door. Besides Blue Energy, the two winners were Growboxx (planting in arid regions) and Lighthouse (medical isotopes). The government will support the National Icons during the next few years. Each of them will be appointed a minister as ambassador, who will provide access to a large network and will help in the search for financing and new partners.

The company REDstack developed Blue Energy in the last ten years in collaboration with the Wetsus water institute in Leeuwarden, where the Wageningen professor Cees Buisman works together with other universities and companies to develop new water technology. Buisman has been working on the generation of electricity using water since 2004.

The principle to electricity generation from fresh and salt water does not originate from Wageningen, clarifies Buisman. ‘We have made the technology achievable, although nobody believed it. Jan Post received his doctorate cum laude for his work on this topic in Wageningen.’

Additional reading (partly in Dutch):