May 17, 2020

Wind Farms vs Nuclear Energy: In Japanese Earthquake Test, Wind Wins!

2 min
Wind turbines stand while nuclear energy fails following Japan earthquake
The renewable energy market has certainly been booming since the earthquake in Japan diminished the worlds faith in nuclear energy. With various nuclear...
The renewable energy market has certainly been booming since the earthquake in Japan diminished the world’s faith in nuclear energy. With various nuclear reactors failing in Japan, it has become apparent that nuclear plants may not be the safest route for energy production, especially if constructed in an earthquake-prone zone. Wind farms, on the other hand, appear to be earthquake-proof!

According to Yoshinori Ueda, head of the International Committee of the Japan Wind Power Association & Japan Wind Energy Association, no wind energy facilities have been damaged from either the earthquake or tsunami in Japan. This even includes the Kamisu semi-offshore wind farm located just 300 km from the epicenter of the earthquake.


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Unfortunately, three of Japan’s eleven wind farms have been reportedly shut down due to grid failure (not failure of the wind farms themselves). Of Japan’s 275 MW of installed wind energy capacity, 175 MW are currently being produced. While the wind farms themselves may be earthquake-proof, the energy grid is apparently still susceptible.

Japanese authorities are asking wind farm operators to increase production as much as possible to meet demand with nuclear reactors offline.

Well, it seems renewable is the way to go. Not only do you not have to worry about those pesky radiation leaks in the event of a major natural disaster like a tsunami or earthquake, but the designs—at least on the part of wind farms—can hold their own. It’s astounding that not a single wind turbine has been damaged in the earthquake, and this should catch the attention of the world at-large—especially energy investors—knowing that their investment is safeguarded, even in the case of an earthquake. With a more robust energy grid in place, a renewable energy power supply could potentially ward off even the most horrific of natural disasters.

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Jun 7, 2021

Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International sign MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping

Independent commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International have signed an MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping and ammonia fuel infrastructure.

Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050. 

How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.

Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:

  • The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
  • Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
  • Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities

Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.  

There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.

Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.

Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.

Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.

It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.

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