Aug 11, 2014

How To Effectively Anticipate the Next Wave of Solar Panels

Green Tech
3 min
Renewable energy is a fast-moving business to be in. With so much new tech being discussed each day, sometimes it can feel daunting. One of the bigge...

Renewable energy is a fast-moving business to be in. With so much new tech being discussed each day, sometimes it can feel daunting. One of the biggest areas of innovation within renewable energy is in the form of PV panels, as it seems a new, better model is being talked about daily. So, what are some key factors utilities need to think about in anticipating the next wave of solar panels?

Watch for a Decrease in Cost

This is huge. With renewable energy leading the way in bringing energy to those who are without, cost is a major factor in the implementation of those upgrades. A number of companies are working with local and national governments to keep costs down so installations are more attainable, but as the new wave of solar panels start to roll out in the next 5 or 10 years, costs will be reduced from the outset with cheaper materials and manufacturing. This is important to anticipate, since reducing costs can open a number of different options for utilities.

Expect Increased Efficiency in a Number of Ways

Solar panels will undoubtedly be more efficient in the future, though how that is achieved remains to be seen. There are several approaches and technologies that could increase efficiency for panels anywhere between 30 and 50 percent. Couple this with decreased cost, and solar becomes even more lucrative. The trouble here is knowing where to invest and what efficiency strategy to back. Some companies are looking to replace panels altogether with more efficient tech, while others are simply looking to upgrade. It’s hard to predict what the market will look like, but staying abreast of the newest panel technology when it comes to efficiency will make implementing upgrades all the more easy.

Look for New Markets to Break Into

This is less about the panels themselves, but rather the possibilities they may lead to. With decreased cost and increased efficiency, manufacturing and installing panels will be easier than ever, making deploying solar much easier. This allows companies to break into burgeoning solar markets such as India and South America at minimized risk. The important factor here is to know when to invest and on what scale. Sometimes, large-scale isn’t always the answer, as with India. The country is currently having great success with smaller, rural solar deployments. With better equipment, these smaller installations cam be great gateway into a country perhaps utilities are only beginning to explore.

Approach New Developments with Cautious Optimism

Really, this is just a good business practice overall, but especially when it comes to renewable energy tech. There’s a ton of information floating around out there and it seems so many different parties have so many different ideas about what solar panels are going to look like in the near future. The best thing to do is to do your research, approach the technology with a heavy amount of skepticism, and always be aware of the benefits while acknowledging the drawbacks. Upgraded solar panels, in theory, benefit everyone but in practice, this may not be the case. Essentially, be interested, but discerning. 

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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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