Jun 11, 2020

Wood Mackenzie praises the ‘most advanced grid in the world’

William Girling
3 min
Smart grid
An electricity control system devised by a three-party energy consortium has been dubbed the ‘most advanced in the world’ by Wood Mackenzie...

An electricity control system devised by a three-party energy consortium has been dubbed the ‘most advanced in the world’ by Wood Mackenzie.

The consortium, comprised of Smarter Grid Systems (SGS), Nexant and GreenSync, designed the system in order to control networks operated by UK Power Networks, which has 8mn customers in London, the East and South-East of England.

Wood Mackenzie, an independent, strategic analyst and research organisation specialising in energy, intimated that the new system’s success could have a profound impact on grids around the world, including the US, Europe and Australia.

Balancing supply and demand

The consortium’s active network management (ANM) system distinguishes itself for its ability to integrate diverse distributed energy resources (DER), such as renewable energy equipment (solar PVs, wind turbines, etc), storage batteries and EV charging points.

The integrity of the grid is, therefore, much more resistant and better able to balance supply and demand, particularly during intensive peak times. Analytical and forecasting capabilities will also be enabled to drive efficiency.

Incorporating DER assets will be essential for the UK to meet its ambitious 2050 net-zero carbon goal, meaning that the success of the ANM system could provide a valuable model upon which other countries can meet their own environmental targets.

“UK Power Networks plans to use the ANM system as its default tool for network operations, grid planning and customer engagement – as opposed to the piecemeal approach to incorporating DERs adopted by many utilities in the United States and Europe,” said Francesco Menonna, analyst at Wood Mackenzie.

Highlighting that similar attempts to achieve an ANM system in the US and Australia have been less encouraging that in the UK, Menonna went on to say that few energy companies had captured the grid flexibility exhibited by UK Power Network’s new system.

“Utilities should keep an eye on UK Power Networks’ system as it rolls out, while vendors can use UK Power Networks as a positive example in discussions with utilities.

“Building a platform to connect and manage DERs on their networks will be increasingly important for distribution utilities around the world as the penetration of intermittent and distributed generation, energy storage and EVs increases.”

Collaborating with technology

Each of the companies in the consortium contributed a vital component to the overall result: SGS provided its ANM Strata programme, Nexant its Grid360 and iEnergy for analysis and GreenSync its deX back-end marketplace.

This technological collaboration is emblematic of the success that can come through the pooling of resources; with each company focusing on one aspect, the overall result could be achieved much faster.

“A flexible energy system can deliver significant benefits for our customers. We made a commitment to work with industry to develop enabling technology and now we are seeing the results of that engagement,” commented Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of Smart Grid Developments at UK Power Networks.

“We are honoured to have this independent endorsement of the system we are building and to have its implications for the global power industry acknowledged.”

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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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