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Heads Up CIPEC Newsletter

October 2014 Vol. XVIII, No. 9

Dust collection system delivers incredible savings

“The energy savings are too good to be true,” says Olaf Boehm, Manufacturing Engineer at Teknion, about the recent installation of an Ecogate dust collection system. Yet the astounding 60-percent savings are real, achieving the projected results in less than one year with the replacement of the old system, which ran for 18 hours, five days a week and was the biggest energy consumer at the plant.

The new system was installed at Teknion’s wood division, Tekwood, and was operational in January 2014. The North York, Ontario location consists of a 6,225-square-metre facility that operates five days a week and employs around 100 people.

“Seeking out new technologies and implementing devices such as Ecogate is part of Teknion’s corporate culture to attain a more sustainable outcome,” says Doug Hietkamp, Director of Sustainable Development Programs at Teknion. “When we heard about the Ecogate dust collection system, we decided to pilot it at Tekwood,” adds Boehm. Tekwood contracted SyENERGY Integrated Energy Solutions to install the Ecogate system.

The completely automated system has sensors and 26 motorized gates. When one of the facility’s 20 machine centres is turned on, a sensor sends a signal to open the appropriate gate(s), adjusting the velocity in the ducting to match the new demand. The gate closes and the dust collector fan speed slows down again when machines are turned off. Moreover, power supplied to the fan is optimized through a variable speed drive.

For the two dust collectors combined, the average fan electrical load has dropped from 280 to 114 kilowatts. In addition, the noise level has decreased substantially adding significantly to employee comfort. So far, they have seen drastic savings in electricity, and continue to project energy savings of around 60 percent on dust collection, which translates into $90,000 per year.

Hietkamp says that upgrades such as the dust collection system are part of the company’s philosophy: “We are already ISO 14001 compliant and have a corporate environmental charter that defines yearly objectives.” Boehm notes that a few years ago a major lighting retrofit was done replacing T-12 for T-8 lamps. Also, the wood drying process has been made more efficient by using UV light and water-based stains.

“We are always looking into ways to improve energy efficiency,” says Boehm. Next year, for example, a compressor upgrade is planned, and with the overwhelmingly positive results of the Ecogate system at Tekwood, the same system will be implemented at two other Teknion sites during the fall.

Mining industry energy survey results show appetite for renewables

“The survey started a conversation between the mining and the renewable energy sector,” notes Johanna Hofmann, Director Sustainability & Research, Mining Energy Advisors (MEA). The goal of a recent mining sector survey, a joint project conducted by CIM Magazine and MEA, published by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, was to gauge the sector’s interest in integrating alternative energy supply solutions into their operations. The results confirm that energy is an important issue for the mining industry and that “there is a strong appetite for more information on renewable energy,” notes Hofmann.

The 2013 survey had 45 respondents, with the majority (more than 50 percent) representing the mining sector, 4 percent from downstream processing, 20 percent consultants and the remainder a mix of industry organizations and academia. Ryan Bergen, CIM Magazine’s editor, explains that most participants were associated with non-ferrous base and precious metals and other minerals, with the rest representing oil and gas, iron ore and steel. About 75 percent of respondents have operations in North America, about 30 percent in Latin America and Africa, with fewer in Europe, Australia, Oceania and Asia.

According to survey results, electricity accounts for 57 percent of energy costs in the industry, while equipment fuel and thermal energy accounts for 29 and 18 percent, respectively. Most of that electricity came from the transmission grid (74 percent), with diesel and off-the-grid hydro-electricity accounting for 25 and 14 percent, respectively. One-third of the companies surveyed said they had experienced power supply reliability issues.

Almost all respondents understood the benefits of adding renewable sources of energy to their supply mix, and about 75 percent would consider renewables for existing and new mines. Moreover, 84 percent already had renewable energy strategies and have had resource assessments, while some are on the path to project implementation. Hydro-electricity was considered the most attractive renewable energy source, with wind, solar PV and solar thermal also offering real potential.

While price requirements for renewables vary across mine sites, close to 60 percent of respondents agreed that if the price were less than $100 per megawatt-hour (MWh), they would purchase it, and 21 percent reported that they had already completed a renewables project.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents reported investing more than $10 million USD in energy efficiency projects at multiple sites, while nearly 75 percent have invested more than $1 million USD. Projects with payback periods of more than two years are also being given consideration by half of the respondents.

One key survey finding, according to Hofmann, was that although a number of mining companies have renewable energy strategies, few have translated into projects. Osman Sediqi, MEA Managing Partner, says this confirms the capital expenditure problem that many organizations face as well as renewable energy price expectations. “For transmission rate customers, renewable energy is a more difficult argument to make.”

Moreover, given the requirement for short payback periods, Bergen says that “the providers of alternative energy options need to reconcile the tolerance for longer payback periods with the comparatively short-lived nature of some mines. A new model is necessary for the mining industry.”

Both Bergen and Hofmann agree that, as a first foray, the survey was very informative. “If such communication tools are used more frequently, it may also increase the number of avenues for the mining industry and the renewables sector to connect,” says Hofmann.

To read the survey results, visit CIM Magazine at http://magazine.cim.org/en/2014/May/energy-survey/The-energy-mix.aspx.

Efficiency NB names Clow Canada Industrial Sector Energy Efficiency Champion

“The energy audit quantified the savings of projects that we already had in mind,” says Dan Ouellette, Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at Clow Canada. “The 2013 extensive energy audit made the business case for numerous projects and added to the list of existing ones that had been generated and implemented over the years”, adds Beckie Morrell, Clow’s Environmental Coordinator. These efforts not only saved the company energy expenditures but also garnered it the 2014 Premier’s Award for Energy Efficiency in the Industrial Sector.

The company’s facility in Saint John, New Brunswick, primarily manufactures fire hydrants and other waterworks industry products. Around 60 employees work in two shifts in the 10,050 square-metre plant. Morrell notes that employees are very involved in environmental initiatives as they bring forth ideas for internal and cross-company energy and environmental competitions.

Ouellette says that the retrofits started even prior to the energy audit, when the siding showed signs of leakage. At that point, a project was implemented to replace the siding and to use highly efficient insulation. Starting in 2013, one of five sections  is being retrofitted annually. A lighting retrofit that started in 2011 and finished in 2013 replaced T-12 ballast fixtures with T-5 and T-8 high efficiency lighting.

Also in 2008, space heating by oil was replaced by radiant natural gas tubing, which led to substantial yearly savings. A ductless, high-efficiency heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) system was installed in the office area in August. Both of these retrofits are expected to result in energy savings and in increased employee comfort. An older, inefficient air compressor was replaced three years ago with one with a variable speed drive. “We have seen 20 percent energy savings every year with the new compressor,” says Ouellette.

Ouellette notes that Clow Canada is also proactive on the pollution prevention front having won the “Why didn’t I think of that?” award in the 2012 McWane Pollution Prevention Challenge (P2C) Competition. By filtering and reusing xylene and purchasing two more efficient paint spray guns, the facility has reduced the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 25 percent and saves $69,000 or 1,500 litres of xylene a year. Ideas such as these are generated continuously at monthly employee meetings and other idea exchange venues.

Ouellette stresses that not only projects with reasonable payback periods are implemented but also those with longer payback periods, because “it is the right thing to do.” Morrell adds that the company and its employees take great pride in these awards as they acknowledge their drive for continuous improvement.

Cogeneration offers great potential for increasing energy efficiency and revenue

Significant opportunities for energy savings and additional revenue exist in cogeneration systems. Cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power (CHP) systems, currently represents about seven percent of electricity generation in Canada, and there is room to grow. CHP systems have the potential to increase fuel efficiency, reduce energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Canadian Electricity Association.

Alberta and Ontario have the greatest cogeneration capacity with 2.3 and 2.1 gigawatts (GW) respectively. In Ontario, cogeneration serves a broad range of industries, including manufacturing and forest products, while in Alberta cogeneration largely serves the oil and gas industry. Utilities account for 45 percent of the organizations with capacity and paper manufacturing is next at 23 percent.

At present, both natural gas-fired and biogas cogeneration systems are being installed across Canada. According to Jan Buijk, Principal, EPS AB Energy Canada Ltd. (EPS – a Southern Ontario-based distributor of cogeneration systems), natural gas-fired cogeneration systems present a significant opportunity given current and projected low natural gas prices.

Examples of natural gas cogeneration projects include Polycon’s (a Magna International company) plans to proceed with an 8 megawatt (MW) plant in Guelph, Ontario. The system consists of three Ecomax containerized CHP units with steam heat recovery and is expected to be operational by May 2015. Near High River, Alberta, a 16.5-MW power plant that will generate additional revenue is planned at MFC Industrial’s Mazeppa sour gas plant. Erie Meat Products in Listowel, Ontario, has invested in a 1.8 MW Ecomax 18 indoor CHP system with steam heat recovery to displace purchased power and heat by the end of October 2014.

In a unique biogas project in Drummondville, Quebec, a heat recovery system captures the heat produced by an 8-MW landfill gas-fuelled CHP plant and transfers it to a nearby tomato greenhouse. Greenhouse owner, Jacques Demers, saw the opportunity to heat an additional greenhouse from landfill gas back in 2011. The system has already provided more than 10,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy to the greenhouse since its installation.

Cogeneration systems have enormous potential for growth, and as incentive programs such as the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Standard Offer Program 2.0 being developed by the Ontario Power Authority become increasingly available to facilitate the increased development of CHP facilities, cogeneration projects will contribute to energy efficiency. As an example, OPA’s CHP offer is for facilities that are up to a maximum capacity of 20 MW in size and that provide thermal energy to operations in the target sectors, specifically, Agricultural Industry Projects and District Energy Projects.

For more information on the Program, visit www.powerauthority.on.ca/combined-heat-power-procurement.

Pilot technology could reduce environmental footprint of heavy oil extraction

“It was the missing piece of the puzzle,” says Paul Cairns, Project Engineer, CanmetENERGY in Bells Corners, Ontario, of the marriage between Direct Contact Steam Generation (DCSG) and High Pressure Oxygen-fired (HiProxy) combustion systems. He explains that researchers have been working with HiProxy systems since 2001 and were looking for new applications. By retooling these systems for steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), water can be added directly and the process simplified.

SAGD, a common method of extracting heavy oil buried deep underground, requires significant energy and water in order to generate steam and also results in the release of carbon dioxide (CO2).

DCSG generates a flue gas stream that contains both steam and CO2. This mixture is used to extract bitumen with a portion of the CO2 remaining underground and the creation of a solid and stable slag. Thus, DCSG has the potential to reduce the environmental impact of SAGD extraction by reducing CO2 emissions and also decreasing water use, since the percentage of produced water that can be recycled from the SAGD reservoir using DCSG is significantly greater. 

Cairns explains that, after an earlier economic feasibility study found that the technology could be competitive, researchers determined that direct steam generation from a mixture of oxygen, fuel, and water was possible in a pressurized environment of 15 bars. Moreover, the condensed water steam from the mixture was only minimally contaminated at 90 percent water and 10 percent CO2.

“We now need to test the technology at higher pressure with dissolved hydrocarbons and solids to simulate industrial conditions,” notes Cairns. A 100-bar pressure pilot plant has been designed with construction to be completed in 2016/2017 and testing to begin in late 2017.  The eventual goal is to customize the technology to varying well pressures.

The testing of high pressure oxygen (HiPrOx) steam generation with actual SAGD-produced water is currently underway. “The goal of current research is to ensure that the right mix of CO2 and steam is created. The testing will become more complex,” says Cairns, noting that future trials will also use tailings water in the mixture to determine if the technology could provide a solution for the use of tailings pond water.

The DCSG pilot project received funding through PERD/ecoEII with significant industrial support through the Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). COSIA member companies, led by Suncor, also include Shell Canada, Devon Canada Corporation, Canadian Natural Resources Limited and Statoil.

Dairy Farm Sustainability Award highlights outstanding farmers

On July 17, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) and DeLaval Canada announced the winner and finalists of the annual Dairy Farm Sustainability Award. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to present the Award to four families that have shown innovative management practices that we want to celebrate and share with all Canadians,” says Wally Smith, DFC President.

Sandra Da Silva, Assistant Director, External Communications at DFC, notes that “the Dairy Farm Sustainability Award was created to recognize Canadian dairy farmers who implement on-farm management practices that help advance the sustainability of the industry.” Andrew Ritchie, Managing Director at DeLaval says that his company is proud to sponsor the award: “we are committed to invest and support dairy farmers’ efforts to improve efficiency on their farms.”

The overall award went to Korb and Kelly Whale and their parents, Bruce and Deborah Whale of Clovermead Farms Inc., Ontario, for their long list of environmentally beneficial practices. One of these was the installation of an anaerobic digester, which can produce 5,000 cubic metres of biogas per day. “We currently sell the electricity we produce with this gas, which amounts to 6,000 kilowatts (kW) per day and buy back about 20 percent for farm operations. We also reclaim the heat from the engine to use in farm processes (i.e., heat the digester, the pasteurizer, the buildings, and water) and to heat our buildings,” says Korb Whale.

The Whales have also installed efficient T-5 fluorescent lights and cool their buildings with variable frequency drive, high-volume, low-velocity fans. Additionally, the water that pre-cools milk is reused for cows. Furthermore, radiant, in-floor heating uses heat captured from the engine at the digester. In the future, Whale says that they will increase heat recovery for space heating and crop drying, and hope to use the produced biogas to meet all their electricity and vehicle fuel needs.

The Robert family of Ferme Clobert Inc. in Quebec was recognized as one of the finalists for its long-standing environmental efforts. The Roberts have switched from conventional tillage to reduced tillage with direct seeding, which has decreased fuel consumption and the cost of equipment maintenance. Since 2008, cooling plates have been used to cool milk, and the heat recovered from the milk cooling process has allowed for a smaller refrigeration unit thus saving energy. The Roberts have also changed to more efficient, automatically controlled lighting in their barn. “We are always open to opportunities that are environmentally and economically viable.”

Bakerview EcoDairy, a demonstration farm in Abbotsford, British Columbia, also garnered a finalist spot with its environmental philosophy and practices. Compared to another similarly sized farm, the EcoDairy uses about 40 percent less energy.  Like Clovermead Farms, EcoDairy opted for an anaerobic digester to showcase the opportunities offered by alternative energy. “At full operation, the digester produces about one-third of our electricity requirements for the whole site,” says Peter Torenvliet 

Additionally, induction lighting replaced sodium fixtures in the barn. Interior siding was installed as insulation and to maximize reflection and minimize shadows/shading, which is an issue for cows. “With these measures, we have seen up to 50 percent in annual electricity savings,” notes Torenvliet.

Other finalists, the Dykstras, of Dykstra Farms in New Brunswick, also have a holistic approach to farm management whereby they consider sustainable soil management, water conservation, and biodiversity protection. In terms of energy efficiency, the Dykstras have undertaken a number of initiatives including the installation of a plate cooler and a heat recovery system for milk, which resulted in considerable annual energy savings.

Da Silva explains that this is the third year of the award, and interest continues to grow every year amongst farmers. “Year after year, our judging panel comments on how increasingly difficult it is to choose just one farm as the overall award winner,” she states.

IEA study promotes a multiple benefits approach to energy efficiency

“The findings send a strong message to industry that energy efficiency is a strategic investment decision that represents value creation and competitiveness,” says Nina Campbell, Energy Efficiency and Environment Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA) and leading author of the recently released publication, Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency.

IEA member countries advocated strongly for the two-year comprehensive study of existing energy efficiency evidence that led to the publication, says Campbell. The study proposes a broader perspective on the role of energy efficiency as a tool for economic and social development that should move energy efficiency to the forefront where it belongs.

A key finding according to Campbell is that the impact of energy efficiency has a consistently positive, albeit small, impact on GDP growth. “This finding challenges the conventional thinking that energy demand increases with prosperity.” Readers of the publication should also take note of the significant impacts of energy efficiency on health. The value of health improvements to individual households is vast, and when these impacts are scaled up to include impacts on public health budgets, the benefit/cost ratio of energy efficiency initiatives can increase to four dollars for every one dollar invested.

The evidence presented in the publication shows that the “rebound effect” can represent a positive outcome from the perspective of achieving broader societal objectives.  For example, energy savings can be reinvested, leading to increased economic and social benefits.  The rebound effect occurs when the initial energy savings from efficiency are partially offset by the energy used in accessing more goods and services.  Campbell notes that “this effect is best understood when the relationship between energy savings and the broader outcomes of energy efficiency are considered.”

Fortunately, the view of energy efficiency as a “hidden fuel” is progressing to a recognition of its role as the “first fuel” among IEA member countries. In fact, the IEA’s Energy Efficiency Market Report has shown that “energy use avoided by IEA member countries in 2010 was larger than actual demand met by any other single supply-side resource,” adds Campbell.

Despite this emerging role of energy efficiency, however, its potential is far from being fully exploited. “Two-thirds of all economically viable energy efficiency projects are not expected to be implemented between now and 2035,” says Campbell. Why? The evidence suggests that there are many barriers limiting the uptake of energy efficiency opportunities, including a lack of information, the need for upfront investment and a perceived risk in terms of return on investment.

The energy savings that energy efficiency offers have not, to date, captured the interest of politicians and the public as concretely as have barrels of oil; energy efficiency remains largely intangible to many. “We need to know what energy efficiency offers to society in real terms,” says Campbell, noting that a multiple benefits perspective is one way “to overcome the lack of appeal of energy efficiency.”

She says that the audience for the publication goes beyond the usual energy policy and decision makers to those looking after the public budget, health programs, and social development fields. The findings also represent “a call to action for energy evaluators who need to roll up their sleeves in developing more robust methods for evaluating a broader range of impacts.”

The study points the way for a multipronged approach to energy policy; it reveals the advantages of using energy efficiency as a tool for social and economic development. “We need to think far beyond simply measuring kilowatt-hours saved.” Thus, the publication lays out a menu of possible actions that stakeholders can pursue to increase public understanding of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency.

To order a printed version or purchase a PDF version, visit www.iea.org/w/bookshop/475-Capturing_the_Multiple_Benefits_of_Energy_Efficiency.

Dollars to $ense Energy Management Workshops – Fall and winter Schedule

Energy Monitoring
Date: November 22
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Offered in collaboration with Langara College

Energy Management Information Systems
Date: December 15
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Offered in collaboration with Langara College

Recommissioning for Buildings
Date: December 16
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Offered in collaboration with Langara College

Energy Efficiency Financing
Date: December 17
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Offered in collaboration with Langara College

To register, call the Langara College’s Continuing Studies Registration Office at 604-323-5322

Notice: Please allow from eight to 10 weeks from the planning to the delivery of a customized Dollars to $ense workshop.

Complete list of industrial events

Call for story ideas

Has your company implemented successful energy efficiency measures that you would like to share with Heads Up CIPEC readers? Please send your story ideas for consideration to the editor, Jocelyne Rouleau, by e-mail at jocelyne.rouleau@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.

If you require more information on an article or a program, contact Jocelyne Rouleau at the above e-mail address.

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