Is wind energy getting blown away?
By Heather Legg
Wind energy – maybe we think of old wooden windmills and tulips when we think of wind energy, but reality shows there are new state of the art wind turbines that have the capacity to power around 250 homes from a single megawatt of wind energy.
These sleek, modern machines are becoming more and more visible throughout the world. The United States ranks third in the world, only behind Germany and Spain, when it comes to wind energy development and installed wind energy, according to National Geographic.
The United States actually has the two largest wind farms, both based in Texas. Iowa is a runner up in production of wind megawatts from wind, followed by California, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
What is it about wind energy, though?
Should people use more of it? Is it more trouble than it’s worth, or why else would there be opponents to it?
Just like any other energy source, individuals and businesses can find pros and cons, opponents and proponents, and decisions on usage need to be formed. Here’s a quick list of those pros and cons:
1. Wind is a clean, renewable source of energy and does not produce any air or water pollution. We will always have wind as long as the sun continues to shine and warms the air.
2. Depending on the size of the turbine, huge amounts of energy can be gathered, and anywhere from 1 to 600 homes can be powered from a single turbine. Small turbines can be used for private homes.
3. Wind turbines are low cost. With mass production and advances in technology, they are becoming cheaper to make. Once you have the turbine, the cost is next to nothing because wind is free. Because of the rise in wind energy, some governments are offering tax incentives to use them.
4. Land where turbines are installed can also be used for farming so the land isn’t just committed to the wind turbines.
1. Some people complain about the unsightliness of the turbines and the noise generated from them.
2. One of the most negative aspects of the turbines is that they can kill birds and bats that fly into the blades. However, animals are also killed by power lines and other man-made structures.
3. The wind must be blowing to generate electricity, and wind isn’t something to be controlled.
4. The upfront cost can be quite high to install wind turbines, and they are not practical for urban areas.
5. Storms can damage wind turbines adding to cost if they need replacement or repair.
Weighing the good and bad
As with any energy source, there is a sizable long list of both pros and cons.
The best people can do is weigh each one to see what is feasible to help with our current energy issues.
Perhaps garnering wind energy for our total energy use isn’t the answer right now, but in combination with other methods, wind turbines and using energy from these could be a piece of the puzzle we’ve been looking to solve.
Read more about wind energy at:
About the author: Heather Legg is a writer who covers a variety of topics from small business to clean living to construction recycling.
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.