Sep 9, 2016

How has Costa Rica managed 100% renewable energy?

2 min
A recent report out of Costa Rica revealed that the Central American country has been running solely on renewable energy for the past two months cons...

A recent report out of Costa Rica revealed that the Central American country has been running solely on renewable energy for the past two months consecutively. This year, Costa Rica has achieved a total of 150 days in which fossil-fuels weren’t part of its energy mix. What factors have allowed this to happen, and how easy will it be to replicate this success elsewhere?

One word: Hydropower
Just over 80 percent of the energy the country generated last month was supplied by its four hydroelectric power stations. Heavy rainfall between June and August helped to provide the hydro facilities with some added ‘fuel’, contributing to their ability to meet electricity demand.

Geothermal energy provided 13 percent of Costa Rica’s energy during the 76 consecutive days of renewable power, with solar contributing just 0.01 percent.

Small surface area
As impressive at its renewable energy figures may initially seem, it’s also worth noting that Costa Rica is only 51,100 square kilometres in size — and almost one-third of this land is protected. This means that the amount of populated land with high electricity requirements is relatively limited.

Low energy economy
Costa Rica’s economy further lacks many energy-intensive industries and has a population of under 5 million, meaning its energy requirements are minimal when compared to larger and more populous countries. Last year, the country only generated about 10,713 gigawatt hours of electricity.

In short, the combination of these three factors — abundant hydropower, small land mass and low energy requirements — have allowed Costa Rica to excel in the field of renewable energy. Ultimately, nations with higher demand and more limited resources will struggle to replicate the country’s success in a similar fashion. 

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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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