Jul 16, 2014

How to Become a Model for Solar Implementation

2 min
In an article from StateImpact Texas, a reporting project from NPR member stations, Travis Bubenik shines a spotlight on the West Texas town of Presi...

In an article from StateImpact Texas, a reporting project from NPR member stations, Travis Bubenik shines a spotlight on the West Texas town of Presidio, a town that could become a model for the implementation of solar energy in the Lone Star State and beyond. Let’s look at what makes solar successful in Presidio.

Fulfill a Need

For Presidio, the advent of solar energy fulfilled a very pressing need. The energy infrastructure was minimal and power outages were very common. According to the article, even distant thunderstorms could cause power outages. Bringing solar to city helped greatly, and thus helped drive its development.

Develop an Efficient System

The solar plant at Presidio is extremely efficient, and powers the entire city of Presidio and then some. The power is mainly sold to the city of Brian, Texas, making the situation a win-win. Also, the plant allowed the town to stay heated during an ice storm last fall, while other nearby towns felt a severe chill. Not only did solar energy fulfill a need for the town, but it also worked very efficiently and in some ways made life easier for those in town.

Allow for Physical Room to Grow

The plants only worker Edgar Briones said that when he crosses the border to go to and from work, customs officers ask him where he works and have never heard of the solar farm before despite their living in Presidio. The farms location is remote enough to not be in direct sight of the residents of Presidio and allow for expansion if need be without anything getting in its way. It’s in a prime position to grow.

Embrace Energy Diversification

Being completely sustainable is an excellent goal, but sometimes requires a bit more time. It’s never a simple, sudden transition. The Mayor of Presidio John Ferguson recognizes that natural gas still needs to be a part of his town’s energy profile, even though he’s opposed to drilling in Presidio. He sees the economic benefits in using natural gas as well, which he hopes will attract jobs and manufacturing.

Focus on the Positives

While solar is definitely playing second fiddle to oil and gas in Texas, it’s still very much on the rise. As the article notes, these smaller scale installments could lead the way as examples for bigger projects in Texas. The impact solar has had on Presidio is immense, and that’s only one town in Texas. It’s important to keep looking forward and be optimistic about the future of solar in greater Texas. 

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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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