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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Bio-fuels, nuclear fusion, Zero Emissions details, Siemens Wind to hydrogen, US energy storage boom

It's Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. What bio-fuels ships will use in 2030

  2. Living Wage Foundation recognizes bp

  3. World’s first nuclear fusion reactor

  4. Mapping Zero Emissions project details

  5. First wind to hydrogen project with Siemens

  6. U.S. energy storage boom begins

Crowley LNG gas storage containers

Image Credit: gCaptain

About 90% of the world’s trade is done through shipping. With almost 3% of the man-made CO2 emissions, the industry looks to cut pollution with new fuels. Which fuel will fill the void? It’s a complex question, since the fuel has to power huge tankers around the world. Here are some of the candidates:

  1. Ammonia: When burned cleanly by combining green hydrogen with nitrogen in the air, it produces no CO2 emissions. It is approximately 1/3 as dense as traditional fuels, requiring more space, and is toxic in its fuel form.

  2. Hydrogen: Powers rockets! Can be produced with no CO2 and can be used in a ship’s internal combustion engine. Unfortunately, it is even less energy dense than ammonia and needs to be stored at incredibly cold temperatures of -423°F.

  3. LNG: Popular, available, and produces less CO2 than other fuels. Downsides are it is “Still a fossil fuel so it’s not carbon neutral, although bio and synthetic LNGs do exist. Also needs costly infrastructure and causes methane emissions.”

  4. Biofuels: Vegetable oil fuels are already compatible with some engines, but are more expensive to produce, requiring a big jump in production.

  5. Methanol: Liquid at ambient temps and does not need pressurized tanks. Energy density is lower than other fuels and clean methanol is more expensive.

  6. Nuclear: No emissions, extreme energy density. Fail-safes are standard, but it still has a stigma of danger.

Ships are currently making the switch to these fuel options, with IMO targeting a 50% reduction in emissions by 2050. With more ships on the water by 2050, that will mean a much greater reduction per ship, on the order of 85%. Right now, it is a slow start due to infrastructure wanting ships ready, and ship owners wanting infrastructure in place. Most of the $1 trillion to $1.4 trillion investment is going to be between 2030 and 2050. You may be wondering about wind and solar – they aren’t an option as a primary fuel right now but do act as auxiliary power sources.

bp has been accredited by the Living Wage Foundation as a UK Living Wage Employer, the first major energy company to receive the accreditation. “This means that everyone working for bp in the UK now receives a minimum hourly wage of £9.30 in ‎the UK or £10.75 in London.” The real Living Wage is a calculated cost of living, rather than the lower minimum wage. Learn more about the Living Wage Foundation.

Nuclear Fusion Reactor, ITER tokamak

Image Credit:

Nuclear fusion has been a goal of scientists for 100 years. It seems we are now getting close to building our own star here on Earth. “The European ITER project has recently surpassed a series of milestones with their tokamak currently under construction in the South of France. The project, a collaboration between 35 nations decades in the making, claims that they will achieve first plasma by 2025, and commercial nuclear fusion could be close behind.”

Another project, a smaller version of ITER, is already underway. In a reactor shaped like a huge doughnut, atoms are smashed together, reaching temperatures ten times greater than the Sun. This smaller-scale experiment will help accelerate the research into fusion. Check out the article with more links here.

Two Container Ships passing each other on the water

Image Credit: The Maritime Executive

The Getting to Zero Coalition has mapped out all projects in progress to meet decarbonization targets. More than 120 companies in the coalition are working on solutions. “Most of the current projects, the coalition said concentrate either on ship technologies development or fuel production. “The majority of projects covering fuel production focus on green hydrogen which is largely due to hydrogen’s position as a ‘building block’ for the production of other fuels such as ammonia or methanol,” adds Søgaard.” There are 66 current projects, with 49 in Europe. By mapping the projects, the coalition hopes to provide more insight into the future of the industry, with updates every six months.

Offshore wind turbine farm

Image Credit: gCaptain

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA is turning to wind turbines to create hydrogen. After launching the world’s biggest wind turbine this year, they hope to use turbines to power hydrogen production for clean fuel. Underway in Denmark, the project “will include a 3-megawatt wind turbine that will power a 400-kilowatt electrolyzer, a machine that separates the hydrogen atoms in water from oxygen atoms.” It will be the first test of combing the two technologies of using only wind to produce hydrogen. Everfuel, a Danish hydrogen fuel company, will distribute the gas for vehicles in Copenhagen. Siemens Gamesa sees hydrogen at a similar stage to wind turbines not long ago, poised to change the energy landscape. Large scale projects aren’t planned until at least 2025.

Wind turbines and batter storage installation

Image Credit:

With new sources of energy and decarbonization front of mind, the United States looks to energy storage for flexibility and capacity.

“America has the potential to see 100 gigawatts (GW) of new energy storage deployed by 2030, the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) said in a new white paper this month.

That is an ambitious target, considering that in its previous estimate from 2017, ESA projected 35 GW of energy storage – including batteries, thermal, mechanical, and pumped storage hydro – installed by 2025.”

Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the ESA show that 523 MW of energy storage are deployed currently in the U.S. Storage capacity should double this year, and hit 7 GW by 2025. Legislative support is the most important part of making this plan a reality. Many utilities are even including storage in their planning, with 80% of 2018-2019 utility IRPs looking at storage. Solar plus storage could lead to lower electricity costs by storing energy at peak capture points to distribute later at peak usage.

“The ‘Gigawatt 1’ project will use thousands of solar panels made by U.S. firm First Solar, and battery storage utilizing Tesla Megapack manufactured in Storey County, Nevada.

‘This project also ensures Switch’s power costs will remain in the 5 cent a KWh range and Switch clients will continue to enjoy low-cost, 100% renewable power for decades to come,’ Adam Kramer, Switch EVP of Strategy, said…’Our goal is to be running around the clock on green electrons’”.

Smile, its Good News Monday! :-)


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