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Heads Up CIPEC – Volume 20 No 6 and 7

Volume 20 No 6

Volume 20 No 7

Biotechnology helps BioAmber use 60 percent less energy

“BioAmber is committed to producing chemicals in a more environmentally responsible manner. By using renewable feedstock, eliminating GHG emissions and substantially reducing energy consumption, we are practicing greener, more sustainable chemistry,” says Mike Hartmann, Executive Vice-president of BioAmber, a sustainable chemicals company.

BioAmber has built the world’s largest succinic acid plant that uses an innovative biotechnology process requiring 60 percent less energy and producing 100 percent less GHG emissions. Succinic acid is a chemical building block used in the automotive and electronics industries, in biodegradable plastics, paints and coatings, lubricants as well as food-grade certified products.

BioAmber’s 9,290 square-metre plant is located on a 4.5 hectare (11 acres) brownfields site in Sarnia, Ontario. At this location, the company employs 60 people, and operates 24/7. The new plant, a joint venture between Bio Amber and Mitsui & Co. Ltd., started production in October 2015 and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016.

Bio Amber’s biotechnological solution uses three large fermenters and is carried out in water at approximately body temperature level and at normal pressure. Hartmann explains that in conventional petroleum succinic acid production, one kilogram of succinic acid results in seven kilograms of CO2 equivalent emissions. The new bio plant, however, uses two-thirds less energy than a petroleum powered process, which uses high-pressure and temperature. At full capacity, the plant will produce 30,000 tonnes of succinic acid per year and reduce GHG emissions by over 210,000 tonnes annually.

Hartmann notes that the impetus for the development of the new process stems from economic necessity. “Biotechnology is cheaper than petroleum. With the new fermentation process, the plant is not only green but has also lowered its operational costs. We now have a low-cost technology, and are able to market it on a commercial scale. This allows us to operate without subsidies.”

2015 CIEEDAC Data Release

The Canadian Industrial Energy End-use Data and Analysis Centre (CIEEDAC) has released its up-to-date data on energy, GHG emissions and production for 130 different industry groups in Canada for the 1990 – 2014 period. In this issue, CIEEDAC was able to include data from the mining sector and the most recent update on GDP data from Statistics Canada released in December 2015. 

The data, mostly sourced from Statistics Canada, is disaggregated at the national level by the type of energy used and by industry. GHG emissions data has been estimated from Statistics Canada’s energy data. The database also includes process emission data from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s most recent submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

Industry sector-specific fuel consumption, energy intensity indicator, and cumulative GHG emission reports can be generated from the CIEEDAC database. Moreover, reports can also be viewed for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Individual fuel types can be selected for any year, year combinations or all years between 1990 and 2014. Options for type of activity/intensity/index data are also available and include gross output, gross domestic output and physical units for specific base years.

The release of the 2015 database also marks the retirement of CIEEDAC long-serving executive director, Dr. John Nyboer. Officially retired as of March 31, 2016, Nyboer initially set up CIEEDAC in 1993 in collaboration with NRCan. Thirteen years later it is one of the most long standing data centres in Canada. Through the years, Nyboer has observed the increasing quality and quantity of data as well as the welcome rise in the level of cooperation between stakeholders, such as NRCan and CIPEC, and the support received from stakeholder agencies. Brad Griffin is Nyboer’s successor at CIEEDAC.

To view the data, visit For more information, contact Brad Griffin at

BioFuelNet is the one-stop shop for cutting-edge biofuels research

“We would like to see a society where sustainable and renewable energy sources play a more important role in our industrial sector,” mentions Dr. Don Smith, Scientific Director at BioFuelNet. Launched four years ago, BioFuelNet is a network of Canadian biofuels researchers that aims to advance the role of biofuels in the country’s energy supply. The network consists of researchers from academia, government, and industry working in a synergistic fashion on all aspects of biofuels.

Smith explains that the Network’s researchers have moved into Phase II, which involves 10 focused projects that consist of a total of 59 work units or ‘packages’ divided among the different projects. The projects include research across Canada on purpose-grown feedstocks, residues and waste, bioconversion, pyrolysis, gasification and emerging conversion technologies. Additionally, investigators are looking at combustion and engine operations, life cycle analysis and microeconomics, domestic and international policy, and supply-chain logistics.

The research is headed by over 70 primary investigators and 160 associated researchers. About 90 companies are involved in the various projects. Smith notes that National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the Network’s major funder but that other funders are also involved including NRCan.

BioFuelNet showcases its work every year at its Advanced Biofuels Symposia. This year, the event was held in Vancouver from July 6 to 8. Annie Webb, BioFuelNet’s Manager of Communications and Public Relations and Symposium organizer, expected up to 350 attendees making it the largest biofuels event in Canada. She notes that top scientists, researchers, government representatives and graduate students as well as international experts meet to “discuss all the hot topics in the advanced biofuels sector.” It is also an opportunity for cross-discipline discussions and networking. As Smith highlights, “the symposium is the best venue to find the top experts and cutting-edge in the biofuels sector.”

In addition to the annual Advanced Biofuels Symposia, the Network offers an online certificate course on advanced biofuels. The course is open to anyone within and outside BioFuelNet; at least one-third of the participants are from the industrial sector. In fact, in-company training on biofuels can be arranged. The course, spanning over 14 lectures by top biofuels researchers and experts, cover biofuels feedstocks, conversion technologies, combustion/emission aspects, and commercialization potential. Registration is now open for the next course starting on September 6, 2016.

Smith notes that to date, over 300 students have been trained by BioFuelNet while another 300 are currently in training. “There is a vast amount of innovative and applied research going on in this area.”

For more information on BioFuelNet, visit

Volume 20 No 7

Triple H Hydronics joins CIPEC’s general manufacturing Leaders

“We have always been interested in cutting costs for our company and our clients,” says Shane Fink, owner and operator of Triple H Hydronics. “To achieve this we continuously look for ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.”

Triple H Hydronics, located in Calgary, Alberta, designs and manufactures custom make-up air units and hydronic heating panels for commercial, industrial, and residential applications. The company also offers heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) services. Triple H Hydronics has six trained employees that work regular day shifts, Monday to Friday. The company recently moved to a renovated 314-square metre office and warehouse space that will allow for future growth.

“We are huge supporters and promoters of high efficiency heating and cooling systems that reduce consumption,” says Fink. It is Triple H Hydronics’ business to reduce the impact of its clients’ energy use on the environment and on their wallets. “We are constantly looking for ways to help our clients create the most efficient system, no matter their specific requirements.”

On its path of continuous improvement, the company has already implemented a number of measures. “We have installed high efficiency HVAC systems in our new shop and plan to continue to reduce our environmental footprint,” says Fink.

Triple H Hydronics has recently joined CIPEC as a Leader in the General Manufacturing sector to discover more best practices in energy efficiency that could be applied in its facility. As well, Fink says that he hopes to learn about government and utility programs and incentives that could enable energy efficiency projects.

“As we move forward, we will be looking at other measures that we can implement to increase our energy efficiency and reduce our impact on the environment.”

Mining study points to savings potential of operating at design capacity

A recent study of Ontario mines highlights the case for operating at design capacity. “We were not surprised to find that the most efficient use of electricity was when the mill ran at design capacity,” says Michelle Levesque, senior engineer in Mine/Mill Energy Efficiency and Underground Mine Environment at NRCan’s CanmetMINING. However, she and fellow researchers found that only 2 of 14 metal mills in Ontario were operating at design capacity in 2010.

The study, shortlisted for a 2015 Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC) medal, comprised a review of an energy audit conducted in 2008 at a base metal milling facility in northern Ontario. Levesque explains that the study, funded by MIRARCO and Vale, was part of her Ph.D. on the development of an improved energy management methodology for mining. The original audit identified 10 measures that had the potential to collectively save 5 percent of on-site energy consumption.

She found that the mill was only operating at 74 percent but could save 14 percent in energy costs if it was more efficiently run.

The study was expanded to examine how 3 other milling facilities were operated in 2012 that were found to only be utilizing between 47 and 74 percent of their capacity at the time. Through modelling, it was determined that these mills could save between 16 and 36 percent of energy consumption if operational schedules were modified allowing the facilities to operate at design capacity even on an intermittent schedule.

Levesque notes that alternatives exist for milling processes built in parallel lines. In these cases, there is flexibility to operate continuously at lower throughput without compromising on efficiency. “This should be a consideration at the design stage.”

Modifying operating schedules can be a good investment for mining companies. Companies, particularly in Ontario, can realize additional cost savings from strategic scheduling to reduce energy demand, which could lead to even more substantial financial benefits.

Levesque points to a few considerations when modifying schedules to operate at design capacity. For instance, the cost of ore storage when ore is not being used, the effect on downstream processes, and the cost of process start-up and shut-down should be studied.  

“Thorough and verified energy audits are important in identifying energy saving opportunities,” indicates Levesque. They can also further an understanding of the principal factors that affect energy consumption within a facility to ensure efficient energy use.

To read the study, go to

Trends in energy efficiency program expenditures

The reports published by the Consortium of Energy Efficiency (CEE) provide an annual analysis of energy efficiency programs trends in Canada and the U.S. As with other years, the 2015 report (CEE’s tenth consecutive data collection effort) also summarizes demand response budgets, expenditures and savings.

The State of the Efficiency Program Industry Report is based on data collected through a survey of demand side management (DSM) program administrators, which can provide an accurate picture of energy efficiency programs over time when combined with past survey data.

In 2014, Canadian electricity and natural gas DSM program expenditures decreased by about 2 percent compared to 2013. This decrease could be due to an energy surplus experienced during the survey period, which resulted in less DSM activity, according to one program administrator. Despite this decrease, electricity and natural gas expenditures remained stable over the past five years at around $920 million thereby suggesting ongoing investments in energy efficiency.

The survey shows that electricity DSM expenditures totaled $696 million in 2014 – a 4 percent decrease from 2013. The share of these expenditures by commercial and industrial sectors decreased by 50 percent from 2013.  

Two-thirds of Canada’s electricity energy efficiency expenditures in 2014 were customer rebates and incentives, with 22 percent going to marketing and administration, and 6 percent to research and evaluation. Custom industrial programs were among the top program category expenditures in 2014.

In terms of natural gas programs, Canadian administrators spent $130 million in 2014, which is an increase of 7 percent compared to 2013 or 67 percent since 2010 indicating continuous growth in natural gas efficiency programs. The commercial and industrial category represent around 40 percent of program expenditures in 2014 of which customer incentives contributed approximately two-thirds.

Canada’s DSM electricity and natural gas efficiency program expenditures in 2014 represented about 0.05 percent of that year’s Canadian Gross Domestic Product. In 2015, DSM program administrators budgeted just under $1.01 billion on programs, which is nearly 6 percent less compared to the amount budgeted for in 2014.

To read the full report, visit

Follow CIPEC on Twitter

Building on the momentum of the CIPEC LinkedIn group’s inception, CIPEC launched its Twitter account @CIPEC_PEEIC in late February 2016 as part of a broader strategy to extend the organization’s reach through social media.

CIPEC’s quest to get social benefitted from a recent publicity boost for Canadian industrial energy efficiency thanks to Energy Summit 2016. During the event on May 17 and 18, a Twitter wall displayed live tweets from the account and the event hashtag #e2016Niagara was used, allowing both conference participants and non-participants to join in and follow discussions on the platform. This created a steady and searchable stream of the conference proceedings and helped raise the profile of the event internationally in locations such as the United States, Spain and France.

The @CIPEC_PEEIC account now has more than 280 followers. CIPEC continues to use the account to share updates on energy management programs and tools for industry, examples of industrial energy efficiency leadership and best practices, services, events and other information of interest to CIPEC members and the greater industrial community, facilitating rapid knowledge exchanges both within and beyond Canada’s borders.

We encourage you to follow @CIPEC_PEEIC to stay informed on the latest developments in industrial energy efficiency and to share your thoughts, insights and reactions. If you have colleagues who are on Twitter, please share the @CIPEC_PEEIC handle with them and encourage them to join the industrial energy efficiency conversation.

New to Twitter and not sure how to start participating, or need inspiration? Here are some suggested tweets you can use right now:

I’m now following Canada’s #Industry #EnergyEfficiency leaders via @CIPEC_PEEIC!

Shout out to @CIPEC_PEEIC for keeping me informed on industrial #EnergyManagement – great resource!

Are you an experienced Twitter user with ideas on topics, discussions or events CIPEC should follow? Send hashtag or handle follow suggestions to:

Canadian Institute for Energy Training (CIET) becomes sole licensee of the Dollars to $ense energy management workshops

Natural Resource Canada (NRCan) is pleased to announce that the Canadian Institute for Energy Training (CIET) is the sole licensee of the Dollars to $ense energy management workshops in Canada.

CIET and NRCan signed the agreement on June 27, 2016, granting the 5-year sole royalty bearing licence to CIET for the delivery of the workshops in Canada and non-exclusive rights to deliver the workshops in any country around the world. 

The Dollars to $ense energy management workshops have a new look and a new format.  The material from the previous six standard workshops is now presented in 30 modules, which can easily be used as building blocks for organizations that wish to focus on specific topics or have limited resources. The new format is also expected to further extend the reach of its content to Canada’s northern and aboriginal communities, and internationally.”

For information on booking a Dollars to $ense energy management workshop please contact the Canadian Institute for Energy Training (CIET) by phone at 1 800 461-7618, by email at or website:

Calendar of 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

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

You can also use the subscription page to update your contact information, or to unsubscribe or subscribe to the Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency newsletter, our sister publication for commercial, institutional and federal government buildings. If you are experiencing difficulty accessing the subscription page, send an e-mail to


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