3 Ways Renewable Energy Could Become Nearly Invisible, and That is a Good Thing
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a solar panel? It is an image of a large panel faced toward the sky? How about a wind turbine? Do you think of a giant structure towering over the desert or ocean?
In the near future, that’s about to change in a number of ways.
Soon enough, renewable energy will be everywhere, but we’ll never even know. A number of different technologies and installation strategies are emerging that are making renewable energy nearly invisible.
3. Off Shore and Out of Sight
We’ll start with one that’s really not that different than current renewable energy installations. Offshore wind and solar farms already exist, but new technology is emerging that will take them almost completely beyond the horizon.
Japan’s Kyocera launched the world’s largest floating solar farm recently, which looks to solve Japan’s problem of lack of space. Also, for some, offshore wind farms are considered an eye-sore. Technology like the WindFloat will allow them to move into deeper waters to not only harness more intense winds, but remain out of sight of people on land.
2. Energy in the Palms of our Hands
What if you never had to charge your phone again? What if your tablet or laptop never ran out of batteries as long as the sun was shining? The potential for that reality is closer than you might think.
Transparent solar panels could become the new screen of your phone, allowing for an endless supply of power. Printable solar panels could also become the casing for phones and tablets as well as laptops. In essence, you could be carrying a miniature solar panel around all day and never think twice about it.
1. A Different Kind of Energy Infrastructure
Solar farms are generally large-scale installations that take up a lot of land. With transparent and printable panels, a solar installation could someday be the windows on the side of a large building. Sustainable building practices are already are major part of the construction industry currently, but that trend is set to really take off.
Also, projects like the Soofa—a bench with solar panels built in that allow for device charging—are bringing energy to the community in ways not previously accessible. The panels are built right into the bench, making it incredible easy to use, and nearly invisible.
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
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.