Canada's first energy mapping study charts the way to energy efficiency


C3, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association


Natural Resources Canada

If captured, it could heat 15,200 homes, power 5,100 homes, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 151,000 tonnes. Waste energy from Alberta’s two largest industrial areas may potentially be integrated into energy systems, according to Canada’s first-ever energy mapping study.

Such integration could improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, attract new businesses, support industrial cluster development and increase Alberta’s competitiveness and diversification.

The Community Integrated Energy Mapping Feasibility Study was conducted to understand the energy flows and waste energy in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and Strathcona Industrial Area. It identified three “heat islands” across the two areas, and estimated the amount of waste energy which could be reused assuming 33 per cent of the waste heat could be captured. The study was led by C3 and conducted by Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures (AITF), with participation of 16 companies from these industrial areas.

AITF developed the energy mapping concept in 2009 as the first step in understanding the business case for energy integration solutions for Alberta. The next step was to partner with C3, a non-profit encouraging energy efficiency, and Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association to conduct the study in 2013 with financial support from Natural Resources Canada.

“The study highlights critical technological and social factors to address before energy integration makes sense for industry in Alberta,” says AITF
senior scientist Craig Aumann. “And AITF is ready to facilitate the next steps needed to address these factors with industry, government and
other partners.”

 Summary of the amount of potentially recoverable waste heat from exhaust stacks, coolers and compressors across the
 heat islands in study areas. Full details available in study report.

These factors include: adaptability of a company’s current operations to technology solutions; certain policies and regulations which act as barriers
to greater energy integration; and obtaining the support of neighbouring communities for energy integration activities. In the end, it must be clear to
companies how energy integration will reduce risks, costs, or generate new revenue.

A key recommendation of the study is to develop a more holistic system for addressing these barriers by finding a better way to engage industry and to coordinate different branches and levels of government in finding viable solutions.

Alberta industry is interested in exploring opportunities for greater energy integration through waste heat utilization. The study will be a model for other organizations, including industry associations, conducting energy mapping studies in other areas of the province and North America.

View the study.

 The energy mapping study looked at what types of waste heat exist
 (hot water, steam, heat in stacks) and how much heat is potentially available.

Energy mapping and economic diversification

Mapping waste energy across Alberta would result in the creation of a waste energy database for use as a “matchmaking” service for companies interested in energy integration. The database would match a company’s technology and energy supply needs with the required demands currently or potentially supplied by neighbouring sites in terms of energy types, qualities or quantities. This database would make it easier to attract companies to Alberta’s industrial areas which could use these waste energies.

“An energy mapping portal or database would help move Alberta towards a closed-loop economy where existing wastes are used to generate new products,” says AITF’s Craig Aumann.

De-risking technologies

The need for Canada to find and exploit all efficiency opportunities is highlighted by a recent US National Academy of Sciences report which noted that Canada’s energy use per dollar of GDP is 1.5 times higher than that of the US, and two times higher than Japan, Germany, and the UK. To remain competitive, Canada must become more energy efficient. For example, in Europe, waste heat is more often integrated into systems to provide energy for commercial, institutional and residential needs.

While Alberta industry is committed to ensuring operations are efficient, the opportunity for greater energy integration and reuse of waste energies from the province’s industrial plants had not been examined in this level of detail prior to the energy mapping study.

In Canada, the technology required to capture waste energy has not been widely deployed as part of industrial operations. Further, such technologies need to be de-risked if they are to be deployed.

AITF is therefore conducting a more detailed review of waste heat capture technologies in order to assist Alberta industry further with energy efficiency opportunities.

Read the news release


Put our expertise to work for you

Craig Aumann, PhD, MSc
Senior Scientist
Environmental Analytics and Planning          

Brent Scorfield
Senior Business Partner