Dangote Group’s project near Lagos, Nigeria will deliver one of the world’s largest oil refineries. When it’s completed in 2021, the refinery will meet 100 percent of the country’s petroleum needs and, as the largest oil refinery in Africa, it will create roughly 35,000 regional jobs. The team achieved a major milestone in December 2019 by installing the world’s largest crude distillation column.
20th Most Influential Project of 2020
Construction on the world’s largest offshore wind farm began in January in the North Sea near Yorkshire, England. The US$10 billion joint initiative between Equinor and SSE Renewables will generate enough clean energy to power 5 percent of the U.K.’s electricity demand—or 4.5 million homes. The 3.6-gigawatt Dogger Bank Wind Farm project, slated to begin drawing power by 2023, will rely on a futuristic fleet of 600 turbines, said to be the biggest and most powerful in the world.
33rd Most Influential Project of 2020
A project to develop the first nuclear fusion reactor is edging toward delivering on the technology’s promise of nearly limitless, clean, safe energy with no toxic waste. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, a US$25 billion collaboration among 35 nations, led by the European Union, India, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States, reached a major milestone in April when two key components for a prototype reactor arrived at the project headquarters in France. If all continues smoothly, the prototype reactor is slated to begin generating full-power fusion by 2035.
34th Most Influential Project of 2020
Enel Green Power last year launched a US$320 million project to build a massive solar photovoltaic plant in the northern Atacama Region, which could help bolster Chile’s unofficial role as Latin America’s clean energy leader. At full capacity, the 382-megawatt Campos del Sol will generate enough energy per year to help slash annual carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 900,000 metric tons. That’s the same as taking nearly 200,000 cars off the road for a year.
43rd Most Influential Project of 2020
One of the biggest challenges with the renewables boom is storage. Enter the world’s largest liquid air battery. When grid demand wanes, leftover green energy is used to compress air into a liquid, then release it back into a gas when demand rises, powering a turbine that returns energy to the grid. Under construction since June near Manchester, England, Highview Power’s £85 million project is slated for completion in 2022.
There are solar power plants. There are even floating solar plants. And now there’s what French developer Qair is billing as the largest floating solar plant to be installed on saltwater. Plans were unveiled last year, and once completed, the 5-megawatt installation will include 13,500 solar panels and account for about 2 percent of total power generation on the island nation.
A £100 million energy overhaul has already helped the largest U.K. airport reduce its carbon emissions from infrastructure by 93 percent compared to 1990. Execs are now putting the remaining 7 percent in the crosshairs: Tree-planting projects in Indonesia and Mexico, announced in February, will offset remaining infrastructure emissions—furthering Heathrow’s goal of becoming a zero-carbon airport by the mid-2030s.
Sponsored by EDF Renewables, Enbridge and WPD, the 500-megawatt Fécamp wind farm off the coast of Normandy, France will generate enough electricity annually to meet more than 60 percent of the region’s energy needs once operational. Construction kicked off in June.
Natural gas operator Snam and Italian pasta maker Orogiallo tried out a new recipe: using hydrogen fuel for industrial production. In February, the team installed tanks of a hydrogen and natural gas mixture to an existing gas line used at the noodle maker’s facility. Snam’s larger emissions-reducing dream could include using hydrogen across its 25,000-mile (40,234-kilometer) web of transmission lines.
In June U.S. recycled fuel company LanzaTech launched a spinoff project, LanzaJet, that aims to bring sustainable aviation fuel to the commercial market. The startup will use a US$25 million investment from Canadian energy company Suncor Energy and Japanese investment firm Mitsui & Co. to build a demonstration plant. The goal: produce 10 million gallons (37.9 million liters) per year of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel starting in 2022.