The World Switches on to Solar Power
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology has been transformed into a commercially viable energy-generating technology in the past decade, and has shown robust growth even during economic slowdown, states a new report by energy expert GBI Research.
The new report cites that continuous technological advancements and a growing demand for clean and sustainable energy sources have led solar power to become a rising force, with Europe’s enthusiasm translating across the globe.
PV solar technology converts solar energy into electricity using photovoltaic modules, which are exposed to sunlight to generate a direct current. Multiple PV modules are usually connected to form a PV array to produce a greater output, and installed on the roof of a building, on the ground, as a building façade, or integrated into the building itself.
Europe led the global solar PV market in 2011, accounting for a share of 76.2%. Germany’s stable growth has seen it become the most developed solar PV market in the world, accounting for almost 40% of the total global solar PV market in 2011. However, Italy superseded Germany in 2011 in terms of annual solar capacity installed and connected to the grid, as the “Salva Alcoa” decree, which granted solar panel owners 2010 feed in tariffs (FiTs) if a system installed in 2010 was connected by June 2011, led to a flood of capacity installations in 2010. By the end of 2011, almost 9 MW of capacity was connected to the grid in Italy.
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Nevertheless, Europe is expected to lose market share to emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region during the future, as countries such as India and China, along with Australia, are expected to grow enormously in terms of solar PV capacity installation. Increasing government support, growing electricity demand, and government targets to reduce dependence on conventional power resources are likely to drive the Asia-Pacific solar PV market in the future.
The global annual growth rate for the photovoltaic industry has been approximately 25%, even with the 2009 recession taken into account. Applied Materials Inc’s fourth annual solar energy survey conducted in June 2012 predicted that 98% of the world’s population will achieve grid parity by 2020. Despite the speculations surrounding solar parity, the decreasing prices of modules and sustainable nature of solar energy make photovoltaic cells attractive long-term prospects for mass power production in many parts of the world.
Global PV installations grew by 77% in 2011 over 2010 capacity, with 27.1 GW added in 2011 alone. The global cumulative installed capacity for solar PV is expected to reach 277.1 GW by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 15.9% during 2012–2020.
SOURCE GBI Research
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.