Apr 3, 2020

Big data and analytics underscores energy’s future

Technology
Energy Efficiency
William Girling
3 min
Orbis Research has compiled a new report on the effect that big data and analytics is having in the energy sector and where it may lead

Orbis Research has compiled a new report on the effect that big data and analytics is having in the energy sector and where it may lead.

The study, called ‘Global Big Data Analytics in the Energy Sector Market’, offers a comprehensive analysis of the industry, from regional markets to the technologies being explored and their broader appeal for widespread adoption.

Defined as the large volumes of accumulated information gathered from myriad sources within an organisation, big data’s value, particularly when unlocked by analytics software, has become a primary focus for companies seeking an easy way to optimise. 

Leveraging data to understand the future

It is, perhaps, unsurprising that the harbinger for change in the energy sector has been the industry shift towards renewable forms of energy (solar, wind, hydroelectric, nuclear, etc). As old paradigms are replaced, corporations need data to forecast the market’s future.

Moreover, the recent drop in the price of fossil fuels like oil has invigorated alternative energy projects globally. This increased amount of equipment, such as wind turbines or solar PV panels, will require further IoT and analytical software to stay adequately maintained. 

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However, despite the exponential growth of the market seen in the last decade, Orbis considers the overall scarcity of talent in the fields of data science and renewable energy to be a hindering factor, something which will require immediate attention and investment. 

The effect of data analytics on the industry

Despite the challenges and uncertainty inherent in a major market shift, the dimensions for the optimisation of big data and analytics software cannot be ignored. Indeed, a report by Capgemini in 2019 estimated that up to US$813bn was feasible via tech integration.

Orbis highlights smart meters as a key development in the progress of integrating data and analytics with the energy industry. 

Useful not just for businesses but also for utility customers, smart meters are emblematic of the benefits that improved forecasting bestow: lower costs, greater optimisation of energy usage and far less waste, which also has a net benefit for the environment too.

Data and analytics can also be used to change the way we live, work and experience the world via its application in smart buildings and cities. 

Orbis highlights the Asia-Pacific region’s pioneering progress in this regard, which has seen construction companies and government agencies integrate renewable energy sources and optimise energy usage via analytical software. An example of this is the Frasers Tower in Singapore.

The conclusion of Orbis’ research is that data and analytics will continue to shape the modern industry and, more importantly, allow companies a glance at which direction the energy sector will go.

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Jun 7, 2021

Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage

Shipping
fuel
Decarbonisation
ammonia
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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