Mar 20, 2018

Japan’s solar cells for cars are two years away from hitting the market

Sophie Chapman
2 min
Panasonic and Sekisui Chemical working on perovskite solar cells
Panasonic and Sekisui Chemical have been developing new types of solar cells that are expected to be more durable and cheaper to produce.

Panasonic and Sekisui Chemical have been developing new types of solar cells that are expected to be more durable and cheaper to produce.

The perovskite solar cells are larger than typical silicon cells making them – along with their durable nature – more adaptable to curving surfaces, such as walls and vehicles.

The new technology is thinner and lighter than silicon cells, making the process of production less complex and more cost-efficient – perovskite solar cells are anticipated to cost half as much to make.

The two firms have received aid from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation, which is connected with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan.


Panasonic, the Japanese electronics manufacturer, has so far created a 20cm by 20 cm perovskite cell, which can be joined with other cell panels to create larger sheets.

However, traditional silicon cells are capable of converting approximately 25% of the sun’s energy that hits them, Panasonic are currently aiming to create cells that convert 20%, a target that are about halfway to reaching.

The cells that Sekisui Chemicals have been developing are anticipated to have a life-expectancy of 10 years, which is half a traditional silicon cell.

The new technology is not yet suited to being used in solar farms, due to its lack of durability compared to traditional cells.

The cells are expected to be adapted to more niche markets, such as being used on large buildings and cars.

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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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