Community Integrated Energy Mapping Feasibility Study: Gateway to Alberta’s Energy Demand & Supply

Lead Proponent:  C3 (now led by CMC Research Institutes)
Location:  Calgary, AB
ecoEII Contribution:  $ 500,000
Project Total:  $  702,475

Project Background:

Industrial energy mapping is about quantifying the energy flows within a region in terms of types, amounts, qualities, and temporal variability for the purpose of identifying associated waste energy.  It is particularly important for Canada given that Canada’s energy use per dollar of GDP is approximately 1.5 times higher than that of the US, and almost two times higher than Japan, Germany, and the UK. 

In Alberta, about 75% of all provincial natural gas consumption is the result of industrial activity. Studies have found that of four manufacturing sub-sectors in Alberta (which accounted for ~85% of the province’s industrial energy use), 74% of the energy consumption is for direct and indirect process heating.  The high percentage of process heating suggests that possibilities exist for regional energy efficiency gains.

While it is believed that a large amount of low-quality waste heat likely exists in Alberta’s industrial areas, information on energy type, quantity, and quality of energy supply and demand needed to identify regional efficiency and renewable energy opportunities does not exist. To that end, the “Community Integrated Energy Mapping Feasibility Study in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and Strathcona Industrial Area” was proposed by C3 (formerly Climate Change Central).  EcoEII contributed $500K to the study.


The Strathcona and Heartland Industrial Areas near Edmonton, Alberta are home to companies primarily producing and processing oil, gas, and petrochemicals, as well as in advanced manufacturing.  Over the past several decades, these areas have grown into Canada's largest hydrocarbon processing region.  Seventeen companies in the area participated in the study; some companies known to have significant amounts of waste heat did not participate.  Moreover, not all participating companies reported on all of their major waste heat streams (e.g. some reported on exhaust stacks, but not cooling towers).

It was revealed that a significant amount of waste heat exists in the study area. Geographically, the waste heat was clustered into three heat islands across the two industrial areas.  The study identified 293 MW of sensible waste energy, of which 64 MW came from low pollutant exhaust stacks with temperatures of 230°C to 1100°C, 85 MW came stacks with temperatures of 120°C to 230°C, and 144 MW came from coolers and compressors with temperatures of 80°C to 230°C.  Lower temperature cooling streams between 20 and 80 °C were excluded due to the inherent challenges of repurposing such low temperature heat.

For each heat island, assuming that 33% of this total available waste energy could be captured and repurposed, the resulting 97 MW of waste energy could theoretically be used to heat 14,700 average homes, generate 5 MW of power (enough to power 5,100 homes) and reduce CO2 equivalent emissions in the region by approximately 147,000 tonnes annually.

Benefits to Canada:

While this was the first regional industrial energy mapping study completed in Canada that focused specifically on quantifying waste heat, similar exercises have been conducted in other parts of the world.  Canada must become more energy efficient in order to remain competitive over the next 20 years.  The knowledge generated by this study could be applied to studies for other industrial areas in Canada.  Implementation of an integrated regional energy plan for the study area would support industrial diversification and improve market competitiveness for the companies in the industrial area.

Next Steps:

With success in the Heartland, CMC Research Institutes intends to provide leadership to implementation efforts in the region, as well as to regional waste energy mapping initiatives across Canada.

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