Agrivoltaics for broccoli, cabbage

Image: Chonnam National University

Scientists in South Korea have combined PV generation with vegetable farming and have found that solar array shading provides favorable results for crops such as broccoli and cabbage.

From pv magazine

A research team at Chonnam National University in South Korea has looked at how solar power generation could be combined with broccoli and cabbage cultivation. The team found that the shading provided by a PV facility could improve the quality of crops.

Broccoli and cabbage need to be grown in places that receive full sun, which means between six and eight hours of sunlight per day, or very light shade. A lack of sunlight could result in thin, leggy plants.

“Because of its low light saturation points, broccoli may be a suitable crop to maximize famer’s profits and energy security through an agrivoltaic system,” the scientists said. “However, to date, there is limited information on the performance of brassica crops in agrivoltaics.”

The scientists built their agrivoltaic system with bifacial modules at a height of 3.3 meters. They achieved an average power generation per day of 127 kWh during the testing period. They claimed that their approach demonstrated the technical and economic viability of the proposed agrivoltaic solution.

“We found that the taste and the quality of the broccoli were not lower than those of a reference field without the solar array,” they said. “We also found no significant change in functional ingredients and metabolites that affect taste.”

The PV installation caused a significant reduction in the light hitting the crops, which in turn resulted in an improvement of their color.

“The color of broccoli is an important property that goes beyond appearance quality and is involved in consumers’ desire to purchase,” the scientists said.

They said that presence of the PV system reduced the agricultural yield by around 20%, compared to the reference field without solar. However, they said that the income generated by the solar array could more than compensate for such losses.

“The annual economic benefit from solar power was 10.4 times more than the broccoli production benefits,” the scientists said. “Therefore, farmer benefits will increase as they are cultivated in agrivoltaics compared to open field.”

The researchers presented their findings in “Agrivoltaic Systems Enhance Farmers’ Profits through Broccoli Visual Quality and Electricity Production,” which was recently published in Agronomy.

“In terms of land use efficiency, agrivoltaic is a good means of producing energy and food in Korea, which is a highly mountainous area,” they said.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

Singapore developing blueprint for sustainable air hub, as it revives air travel

A Singapore Airlines plane parked on the terminal tarmac at Changi International Airport. Source: AFP/Roslan Rahman

From Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) have started to put in place “building blocks” for a sustainable air hub, as Singapore revives air travel in the coming years, said CAAS on Tuesday (Feb 15). 

With sustainability “a key priority for Singapore’s aviation sector”, the CAAS will engage industry stakeholders to “canvass ideas and develop practical pathways to make greener air travel viable and accessible for all”.

It has also set up a 20-member International Advisory Panel, CAAS added in a press release. 

“Pre-COVID, global aviation contributed about two per cent of global emissions. And once aviation resumes in the trajectory it was before the pandemic, then you must expect the emissions will continue to rise unless we do something about it,” said Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, S Iswaran. 

“For Singapore, we are a major international aviation hub. On one hand, sustainability of our air hub is a high priority. At the same time, we’re very committed to doing our part towards sustainability of the global international aviation system.”  

Blueprint For Air Hub, Economic Viability a Priority

Mr Iswaran added that there is a need to bring all this together in an “over-arching framework for the long term”, in the form of a sustainable air hub blueprint that will chart the pathways for achieving targets. 

The blueprint for the air hub is expected to be ready in early 2023, “given the urgency and the need to act decisively”, he said.

“(The blueprint) will set medium-term (2030) and longer-term (2050) sustainability goals and identify practical, tangible pathways to achieve them. It will focus on the three key areas of airport, airline, and air traffic management, bringing together the various stakeholders,” added CAAS in its press release. 

It will also lay the foundation for four “critical enablers” that are needed to support and drive sector-wide decarbonisation efforts: Policy and regulation, industry development, infrastructure planning and provision, and jobs and skills. 

In the end, sustainability must entail trade-offs, said Mr Iswaran.

“There would be economic costs, and there are costs at the individual level, the enterprise level, and ultimately at the system level.

“And that is exactly why we start with these kinds of panels and initiatives. Because we want to bring in the public sector-private sector partnership, and importantly, the commercial perspective. Because we need that commercial angle to ensure the viability of many of the ideas, especially those that we’re looking at in the near-term.”

At the national level, we also need to have “a strong commitment”, noted Mr Iswaran. 

“The Singapore Green Plan is a clear statement and articulation of what Singapore stands for in this regard and how we want to move forward,” he added.

“We do need to bring these together to the best of our ability, (and) ensure we’re able to move forward in a sustainable way, but also in a manner that ensures economic viability taking into account the perspectives of all the stakeholders.”

Existing “Building Blocks” for Sustainable Aviation

There are already existing “building blocks” in place for a sustainable air hub, said CAAS. 

For instance, Singapore is one of the 107 states voluntarily participating in the pilot phase of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to meet a global aspirational target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020.

Besides fulfilling its own commitment, Singapore is also providing capacity building support to other countries to help them in their implementation of CORSIA.

Singapore has also worked with other participating countries to develop a policy toolkit for sustainable aviation fuel, added CAAS.

This toolkit aims to help policymakers around the world grow a sustainable aviation fuel supply, stimulate demand for such fuel and enable a healthy sustainable aviation fuel eco-system.

The CAAS is also working with key industry players on various initiatives to decarbonise the sector, including the installation of solar panels, electrification of ground fleet, implementation of energy-efficient systems and the use of more renewable energy at Changi Airport. 

Last week, CAAS and Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced that for a one-year period starting from the third quarter of this year, all SIA and Scoot flights out of Changi Airport will use “a blend of refined jet fuel and neat sustainable aviation fuel”.

“This is expected to reduce about 2,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the one-year period,” said CAAS. 

Additionally, CAAS is tapping on “new technologies and international collaboration” to enhance air traffic management efficiency. This will reduce airborne time and fuel use.

“While the immediate focus of the Singapore air hub is to revive air travel, we cannot lose sight of the longer-term challenge of climate change. Sustainability is a national priority for Singapore,” said Mr Iswaran, who was at the International Advisory Panel’s inaugural meeting.

“And the (air hub’s blueprint) will articulate how Singapore can contribute to the decarbonisation of international aviation as well as our national sustainability efforts. This is a challenging endeavour especially at a time when aviation companies are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic.

“It will require strong public-private partnership and cross-sectoral collaboration to innovate and reinvent the aviation eco-system.”

Author: Grace Yeoh



Green bond sales to surge in Asia-Pacific as region lays out path to net-zero

View of a coal-fired power station in Shanghai, China
Source: owngarden/Moment via Getty Images

From S&P Global

Green bond sales in the Asia-Pacific region are likely to rise in 2022 as major economies lay out roadmaps to net-zero emissions and invest in projects to reduce carbon intensity.

Major regional economies, including China, India and Australia, announced their net-zero targets in 2021. Their commitments to environment protection are already showing in green bonds issued last year. The region sold $185.22 billion of green debt in 2021, a 117% increase from 2020, according to Climate Bonds Initiative, or CBI, a U.K.-based green debt tracker. Green bonds are used to fund climate-related or environmental projects and are an important part of the net-zero journey, along with social and sustainability-linked debt.

Most emerging Asian countries will need to plan for a transition to greener energy to avoid straining their economies and creating hardships for their people as a sudden switch can cause energy shortages, said Clifford Lee, global head of fixed income at DBS Bank. “The transition process must also be sustainable,” Lee said.

Green debt in Asia-Pacific can easily double in 2022, Lee said, noting that about $450 billion of bonds are not currently labeled as green by issuers, although they finance activities that would be considered climate-aligned, according to DBS-commissioned research released last year by CBI. “If a good proportion of these are refinanced as green bonds, the growth would be exponential,” Lee said.

SNL Image

Planned transition

Power shortages last year in China and India, among the world’s biggest polluters, underscored the importance of a planned transition to cleaner energy, especially as grids struggled to keep up with a sudden surge in demand caused by weather.

Instead of being a major deterrent for countries to achieve their carbon-neutrality targets, the power shortages coupled with higher coal prices may act as a catalyst for adoption of renewable energy over the medium term, said Love Sharma, head of India and Middle East credit at Lombard Odier Investment Managers.

“With more focus on renewable energy as well as associated grid infrastructure, we believe this will only be positive for further green and sustainability bond issuances from the region and in turn help the transition towards carbon-neutral Asia-Pacific economies,” Sharma said.

Investments into smart and reliable grid infrastructure and renewable power that can be available round the clock via batteries or hybrid models are likely to grow as generation costs decline, Sharma said.

India’s richest tycoons, Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, who both owe their fortunes to carbon, have committed nearly $150 billion of planned investments in green energy projects including solar and wind power, battery storage and the so-called blue hydrogen, which is made from fossil fuel but captures the CO2 formed during its production. Indonesia’s largest power provider, Perusahaan Perseroan (Persero) PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara, has committed $35 billion for hydropower, solar and geothermal plants, according to an October 2021 Nikkei Asia report.

Corporates lead

Corporates were the largest issuers of green bonds in 2021, reverting back to a pre-pandemic trend. Bonds issued by sovereigns also had a notable uptick, with governments issuing 6.83% of green bonds in 2021 compared with 2.08% in the prior year. India announced Feb. 1 it will issue sovereign green bonds for the first time to mobilize resources for green infrastructure, although the government did not specify the amount it may sell.

SNL Image

China was the largest issuer of green bonds in Asia-Pacific with $66.09 billion, followed distantly by South Korea at $12.57 billion. Japan, Singapore and India were the other major issuers. Asia-Pacific was the fastest-growing region for green bond sales globally in 2021, according to CBI data. The region issued 26.28% of the world’s green debt by volume last year.

SNL Image

Countries in Asia-Pacific may also lean on innovative green finance instruments in their journey toward net-zero in the coming years. Transition bonds, which aim to fund issuers’ efforts to improve or reduce environmental impact or cut carbon emissions, may emerge this year, said Jay Lee, a partner at law firm Simmons & Simmons.

“They are often issued by companies which would not normally qualify for green bonds,” Simmons & Simmons’ Lee said. “Good candidate companies would be large carbon-emitting industries such as oil and gas, iron and steel, chemicals, aviation and shipping.”

Author: Rebecca Isjwara Rehan Ahmad