Volume 21 No 2

Table of Contents

Raglan Mine’s wind technology has many spin-offs

"We believe our investments in this pilot project allow us to innovatively decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, maximize our energy efficiency, but more importantly, reduce our carbon footprint and limit our impact on the environment in which we operate,” says Jean-François Verret, Director, Projects and Exploration, Raglan Mine, Quebec.

Verret is referring to the 3 megawatt (MW) turbine deployed at Glencore Corporation’s Raglan Mine in September 2014. The 22.6 million dollar wind turbine project displaces 2.4 million litres of diesel a year, which represents five percent of the total diesel consumption by the mine and a GHG emissions reduction of 7,200 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.

Raglan Mine is situated on the northeastern tip of Nunavik near Salluit, 1,545 kilometres north of Rouyn-Noranda. The mine encompasses a series of high-grade nickel and copper ore deposits. The site has many infrastructures, including four underground mines, a concentrator, an accommodation complex and an administrative building. The mine has no access either to electricity or to natural gas networks, and therefore relies exclusively on diesel generators for its energy needs.

It was this reliance on fossil fuels and the associated GHG emissions that Raglan Mine was looking to reduce in addition to the logistical issues and environmental risks inherent to shipping diesel by boat and then by truck on 100 kilometres of gravel roads to the mine site. Verret explains that a team, formed in 2008/2009 to investigate solutions, proposed wind energy as the most promising option.

Verret recounts the challenges that such a project presented. First, there were few technologies that could withstand -40oC or colder temperatures and wind gusts of up to 130 km/h. Ultimately, Glencore worked with Enercon, a German wind technology manufacturer, to develop a turbine that functions without a gear box, which eliminates the possibility of gears freezing. Moreover, each blade has individual settings and the turbine has a built-in heater.

The construction of the turbine base on permafrost was an additional challenge. A team designed a base whereby the wind turbine is anchored to the rock 16 metres below the soil without resting on the permafrost – a first in the world.

The project also forged into new territory in terms of energy storage. It is currently testing three wind energy storage technologies, another first in Canada. The mine is using a flywheel system, a lithium-ion battery for the start-up of the diesel generators, and a system coupled with hydrogen fuel cells that reduces the amount of energy lost when there is low demand.

With these technologies, Verret says that the wind turbine yields between 35 to 55 percent energy compared to a normal wind turbine, which only yields 15 to 20 percent energy. After five years of testing, one or more of the technologies will become the energy storage system of choice.

Verret credits the success of the project to incredible team work and the support of the federal and provincial governments, which contributed 7.8 and 6.5 million dollars, respectively. "Support is critical to encourage other companies to follow suit and to generate economic development in northern communities,” says Verret.

CNH Industrial Saskatoon plant part of a multi-site ISO 50001 certification

In 2012, CNH Industrial Canada Ltd. put plans in place to achieve ISO 50001 certification. The Saskatoon manufacturing site achieved that certification in April 2013. In 2015, CNH Industrial certified all its North American plants under the ISO 50001 multi-site program.

CNH Industrial designs, produces, and sells agricultural equipment and construction equipment, trucks, commercial vehicles, buses, and special vehicles, in addition to powertrains for industrial and marine applications at the international level. The Saskatoon plant, which builds planters, seeders, headers and cultivators, employs 460 persons at its 60,387 square-metre site, and operates on a five-day-a-week schedule.

"ISO 50001 certification is important to us because it helps us remain competitive while being environmentally responsible and efficient,” says Caley Halcro, Environmental Specialist at CNH Industrial’s Saskatoon manufacturing plant. And, according to Shari West, Manager of Environment, Health and Safety, the company’s vision is to create an energy-friendly plant, where each person takes responsibility for energy consumption and actively works to reduce it.

Rob Thomas, the facilities supervisor, notes that a facility-wide lighting retrofit, which began in 2012, was the start of the plant’s ISO 50001 journey. With the help of a SaskPower incentive, the company replaced 1,000 high-bay, high-pressure sodium and metal halide lights with LED lights equipped with motion sensors. Thomas notes that the retrofit not only reduced energy costs but improved light quality and deminished the need for maintenance. Exterior lights have also been retrofitted with LED lights completing the plant-wide retrofit in 2016.

In another project completed in 2015, exhaust fans for the paint lines were retrofitted with variable frequency drives (VFD) to accommodate a reduced need for venting during the course of the work day.

Halcro says that the recent installation of an ambient temperature wash for one of the facility’s three paint lines has reduced natural gas consumption. The second powder paint line will be retrofitted as well. Thomas adds that the company is planning to implement an equipment automation system that will reduce equipment run time, and therefore, energy use, on evenings and weekends.

The plant’s cross-functional energy team has identified a host of other projects that extend well into 2024. It does so by using a model that analyzes equipment energy use to identify energy saving opportunities. In addition, the company expects to identify even more opportunities as it installs more meters throughout the plant.

Halcro notes that employees actively contribute to energy reduction. New employees attend orientation training that includes energy management. There are start-up shift checklists as well as end-of-shift equipment reviews. Employees also have a multitude of ways to communicate any equipment/operational anomalies or opportunities to supervisors.

McAsphalt on track to achieve ISO 50001 certification

"Our philosophy at McAsphalt is to reduce losses, save energy and subsequently cut costs,” says Kam Bhatia, Vice President, Engineering and Risk Management of McAsphalt Industries Limited. The company achieves this by running energy-efficient facilities, modes of transport, equipment and processes, and training its employees in energy awareness.

Bhatia explains that the company has had energy conservation programs in place for a long time as part of proper business practice. Moreover, "We are looking at implementing an energy management system and have chosen ISO 50001 and subsequent certification”. Being a member of CIPEC will help us toward this goal.”

McAsphalt Industries has 22 facilities across Canada with between eight to forty employees at each site. Some of the facilities operate year-round but most operate for eight months of the year. These are petroleum plants that manufacture road construction materials. The company also operates a fleet of railcars, trucks and ships.

McAsphalt already implemented numerous measures to conserve energy. One of the company’s major energy losses comes from its liquid asphalt storage tanks. "Insulating our 150-foot diameter tanks and the associated pipes is a basic way to save,” notes Bhatia. Specialized insulation technology was designed in-house and is a necessary part of plant safety while saving a fair amount of energy. Just-in-time heating, which allows asphalt products to be stored at lower temperatures only boosting the heat prior to shipping, is saving the company 20 percent in annual energy costs.

Bhatia notes that heat exchangers have also been installed to capture excess heat from several processes including product cooling that is used to heat process water. "We also have a state-of-the-art control system to optimize our product storage temperatures.” McAsphalt also installed timers on rotating equipment to save electricity as well as frequency inverters that moderate equipment speed as required. In addition, the company made new investments in motor control centres that allow motors to operate more efficiently. Economizers have also been installed on heaters and boilers.

"In the near future, we would like to formalize our existing programs, monitor and quantify the resulting savings and exploit new opportunities,” says Bhatia. Upcoming energy efficiency measures include a combined heat and power (CHP) unit at one of McAsphalt’s larger plants. The company is also looking at the possibility of solar installations on some of its 600 asphalt storage tanks.

"We are considering a truck fleet management system that can monitor and identify efficiency issues as well as a shipboard energy management system that will give us an energy baseline,” says Bhatia.

The company’s current Integrated Management System (IMS) and existing ISO 9001 (Quality), 14001 (Environmental) and 18001 (Health and Safety) standards certifications provide it with the framework to pursue ISO 50001 certification, which Bhatia is looking to achieve by the end of 2017.

Kautex Textron upgrades compressors for impressive savings

"We are looking at saving approximately $168,000 a year in electricity costs,” says Andrew Carroll, Kautex Textron’s Technology Manager. The company recently upgraded its compressed air system thereby increasing its production capacity, conserving energy and allowing for the reinvestment of savings in the company.

Kautex Textron manufactures blow-moulded auto parts, such as plastic multi-layer fuel tanks and clear vision systems. The company’s plant in Windsor, Ontario, employs about 200 people and runs three shifts up to 24 hours a day.

The facility’s compressed air system contributes significantly to the company’s electrical power consumption, thus representing an opportunity to gain significant energy savings. As a result, Kautex worked with EnWin Utilities and Trident Compressed Air to identify numerous projects to be implemented in the facility’s system.

The major upgrade was the installation of a variable speed drive rotary screw air compressor, which will ensure that energy is not being wasted. Other improvements included lowering the pressure set point of the facility’s air compressors, the installation of high-efficiency air dryers and a new sequencing unit for better control of pressure flow.

The company’s new compressor qualified for an incentive under the Save on Energy Retrofit program, which covered about 50 percent of the costs of the compressor, installation, materials, labour and permits.

Carroll reports dramatic savings from the project. The peak electricity demand has decreased by 206 kW. "The bottom line is that we are in a competitive industry and we need to be as efficient as possible with our manufacturing inputs,” said Carroll. "The Save on Energy program allowed us to upgrade our equipment and save enough money on electricity for this project to pay for itself within a year.”

To read the complete case study, visit www.saveonenergy.ca/Business/Testimonials/Kautex-Textron.aspx.

PTAC handbook will feature methane emissions reduction technology and best practices

"Our upcoming eco-efficiency handbook will capture the latest technologies and best practices that aim to reduce methane emissions from the petroleum sector,” notes Dr. Soheil Asgarpour, President of Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC).

PTAC promotes innovation, collaborative research and technology development, demonstration and implementation for a responsible hydrocarbon energy industry that will enable Canada to become a global leader in clean hydrocarbon energy. A current focus is on methane venting.

Asgarpour explains that PTAC’s Technology for Emissions Reduction and Eco-Efficiency (TEREE) committee has been overseeing the development and implementation of over 30 innovative technology projects to date and has another 29 methane emissions reduction programs, each containing up to 10 new technologies ready for deployment and eventual commercialization.

One of the projects already commercialized through PTAC is REMVue Slipstream technology that captures light hydrocarbons such as methane and propane from oil tank condensate and compressors to be used as fuel. Asgarpour notes that "This technology was developed through a PTAC facilitated initiative and has now been implemented by industry, resulting in a $28 million fuel cost reduction per year.”

Best practices that will be in the eco-efficiency handbook come from PTAC’s member companies and include software that was developed to help in the measurement and detection of methane.

Although a number of companies have implemented such technologies and best practices, smaller companies do not always have internal technology development departments and can, therefore, benefit from resources like PTAC’s handbook. "The eco-efficiency handbook can deliver valuable information into the hands of smaller operators,” says Asgarpour.

The handbook, to be released in May 2017, will provide cost comparisons, potential savings, associated GHG emissions reduction, and other useful information about each technology and best practice. "Our ultimate goal is for a 45 percent reduction in methane emissions for the industry by 2025, and to achieve this in an economical manner.”

In addition to the upcoming handbook, PTAC is promoting methane emissions reduction technologies and best practices through ongoing workshops that started in December 2016. Asgarpour says that PTAC will also launch webinars to disseminate the information.

"We want to position Canada as a global leader in clean energy production and sharing the technologies and best practices developed to date with all members of the industry is a key step in achieving this.”

For updated information, visit www.ptac.org/.

Canada’s Generation Energy dialogue launched

On April 21, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, launched Generation Energy, a national dialogue on Canada’s path to a low-carbon future. The purpose of this dialogue is to invite Canadians to share their ideas and participate in helping define Canada’s energy future.

The launch marks the beginning of a six-month national conversation, which will take place face to face with provinces and territories, Indigenous groups, international experts and academics, and online with all Canadians through www.generationenergy.ca.

The conversation will conclude with a national symposium, in Winnipeg, which will allow international and Canadian experts, as well as stakeholders from a range of backgrounds, to review the ideas and opinions shared by Canadians. This information will be used to design an approach focused on how the federal government can work with the provinces and territories to create the affordable energy and innovative jobs Canadians want.

For more information and to participate, visit www.generationenergy.ca.

Follow on Twitter: @NRCan (https://twitter.com/nrcan).

Calendar of Events

 

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