Solar Plane Flight Highlights Big Plans in Morocco
Washington, DC (June 21) After completing its historic 2,500-kilometer intercontinental flight to Morocco earlier this month, the Swiss solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse, lifted off from Morocco's capital Rabat morning of June 21 on the second attempt at its most challenging flight yet - to the Sahara desert and Ouarzazate, where Morocco is building the world's largest solar-thermal plant to harness renewable power from the Sahara sun for North Africa and Europe.
The pioneering solar-powered aircraft faced difficult meteorological conditions that last week forced pilot André Borschberg to turn back after experiencing unexpectedly strong headwinds halfway through the flight. Today, Solar Impulse took off from Rabat at 7:05 AM local time and flew over the Atlas Mountains before heading for a landing at Ouarzazate expected around midnight local time (early evening Thursday Eastern Time).
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The solar plane, powered by 12,000 solar cells in its 207-ft wing-span and not a drop of fossil fuel, touched down in Morocco on June 5 after flying from Switzerland via Madrid. After landing, the Solar Impulse team joined events highlighting renewable energy technologies, under the patronage of King Mohammed VI and at the invitation of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, MASEN, which oversees Morocco's solar energy plans.
MASEN President Mustapha Bakkoury welcomed Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard at Rabats airport, calling the flight important for raising awareness about solar energys potential to reduce global dependence on oil, and saying, we share a common message with Solar Impulse. He HYPERLINK "http://live.solarimpulse.com/" said Morocco will be producing solar energy by 2014, when Solar Impulse plans to fly a round-the-world tour.
The solar flight to Morocco coincides with construction launch of a World Bank-financed solar thermal project in Ouarzazate the first of five sites that will produce 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy from the Sahara sun and create many jobs in the area. When it reaches Ouarzazate, Solar Impulse2 plans to fly over the site and land nearby to show its support for the innovative solar power project.
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.