Shell to build first solar farm down under
As Big Oil continues to diversify in the wake of environmental, social and legislative pressures, Shell Australia has announced the construction of its first solar farm in the country.
The farm, to be situated in Queensland, will have an annual capacity of 120MW across around 400,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels. With the project due to become operational in 2021, the construction phase will generate 200 new jobs for the local economy.
Queensland is known as one of the world’s most consistently sunny regions, making it an ideal location for PV-based power generation. The challenge is how that energy is transmitted across such vast space with limited, or simply outmoded, infrastructure.
Shell Australia has therefore based its first Australian solar farm next to existing infrastructure that sits within range of its Shell QGC (Queensland Gas Company) onshore natural gas project which it acquired in 2016.
“We are proud to be investing in the ‘Sunshine State’ and Queensland is a key centre of activity for Shell’s global ambition to expand our integrated power business. Shell’s Gangarri solar farm will help power the operations of our QGC project and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 300,000 tonnes a year,” said Tony Nunan, Shell Australia Chairman, in the company’s press release.
“This project will create local jobs in a range of skilled trades, including electricians, machinists and operators. We recognise the need to play an active role in creating the local talent, skills and opportunities that will be critical for regional Queensland to realise its potential as a renewable energy powerhouse.”
Greg Joiner, Vice President for Shell Energy in Australia, added: “Solar is one of the building blocks of Shell’s power strategy.
“We are increasingly incorporating renewable energy into customer offers, as we have done here for QGC, by combining renewable energy with a firmed energy solution offering reliable supply, a fixed price and a cleaner lower emission package.”
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.