Energy harvesting is the next big thing
Energy harvesting is the process of reclaiming the small amounts of wasted energy being lost as heat, sound, light and vibration. Recovering even a fraction of this energy would have a significant environmental and economic impact.
This captured energy has a number of uses and benefits:
- Improved efficiency – For example, you could use wasted heat in a computer to help power it.
- Enable new technology – Small, wireless sensors could be powered by harnessing wasted energy instead of batteries.
- Reduced maintenance – Energy harvesting would mean there’s no need to replace batteries in small devices, perfect for those in hard-to-reach places.
- New applications – Energy harvesting would mean sensors could be placed in remote or underwater locations.
Energy harvesting is still being developed and needs input from all aspects of physics including energy capture and storage, metrology, material science and systems engineering.
One company, London-based Pavegen Systems, is already leading the way with its energy-harvesting tiles. These can be installed in any area with high foot traffic and transfer the kinetic energy of people’s footstep into electricity through electro-magnetic induction.
Pavegen CEO and Founder Laurence Kemball-Cook said in a press release announcing the launch of its V3 tile: “This is the biggest moment in Pavegen’s history. We’ve created a product that can reshape the way people move in our cities, and with current digitisation our ability to connect physical and digital worlds through a single footstep places us at the forefront of the footfall energy-harvesting market.”
As well as generating electricity for things like street lights, the tiles also collect real-time footfall data, tracking people's location and the number of steps they've taken, which Pavegen claimed could be used by retailers to track customer movements.
One of the first installations of the new triangular V3 tiles will be at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London. After that, the tiles will be taken to Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, and Oxford Street in London, where 200 generators will be installed for clients including Transport for London.
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.