Saskatchewan Research Council unveils “energy-saving” heat and power system
The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) has unveiled a pilot project at a local ventilation manufacturer that can efficiently provide both electricity and heat energy to reduce the environmental impact and cost of providing energy to commercial and residential buildings, according to a Government of Saskatchewan press release.
With a combined $204,000 in support from SaskEnergy and SaskPower, as well as $165,000 from Natural Resources Canada’s Distributed Heat Program, SRC is installing and testing a combined heat and power (CHP) system.
Developed over the past year in conjunction with Advanced Engine Technology, the pilot CHP system was officially launched at Inland Metal's 3,657-sq.m. manufacturing facility in Regina.
“Developing new innovations that maximize energy use while minimizing our environmental footprint is the kind of technology that we want to support in our vibrant innovation sector,” said Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration. “We want to see this CHP system go into commercial production and be used in residential and business construction across Saskatchewan and nationally.”
In conventional power plants, heat from electricity generation is released into the atmosphere in combustion exhaust. Rather than letting this heat go to waste, CHP systems capture this heat and use it to warm spaces or provide hot water in a building.
“Building owners are looking for ways to make their facilities more power and heat efficient,” SRC President and CEO Dr Laurier Schramm said. “By installing and testing combined heat and power units like this one, we’re letting them know that this is a realistic pathway to making their facilities more efficient while reducing their environmental footprints.”
Potential improvements in power and heat efficiency are what prompted Inland Metal to install the pilot CHP system in its facility.
“As a manufacturer, Inland Metal’s requirement of power and a comfortable work place was one of the reasons we looked at the combined heat and power unit,” said Rob Craddock, Inland Metal Managing Director. “If you can generate power and heat for part of your facility while reducing greenhouse gases, it helps reduce our impact on the environment. We are pleased to participate in this project and help refine the CHP unit so that it will become available to other users across the province.”
While CHP technologies have been around for years, they have predominantly been used in large industrial plants. SRC is now testing equipment for small-scale business and residential use. The goal, says the provincial government, is to monitor each CHP unit for one year to establish the technology’s costs, benefits and barriers to better understand the value proposition in Saskatchewan.
This project is only the beginning as SRC plans to grow the project to pilot such CHP systems in other small-to-mid-sized commercial facilities. Eventually, SRC plans to pilot smaller 1-3 kW residential-scale CHP systems, as well as much larger, 100 kW-plus systems for larger commercial facilities.