Excerpt from Cool Companies www.coolcompanies.ca By Claudia Sammer
Canadian industries use the country’s biggest share of energy and produce 54% of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Pembina Institute, Environment Canada 2008). However, the energy intensity of most industrial processes is at least 50% higher than it theoretically needs be, so there is a significant opportunity for reductions (International Energy Agency 2006).
Becoming more energy efficient and reducing GHG emissions for industrial companies often involves developing R&D or adopting best practice technologies. Some industrial companies that use lots of energy have realized significant energy and GHG savings in making their own power (decentralized energy, see WADE p.57). Even more savings are achievable from cogeneration which is a form of energy recycling. When fuel is burned, only one third is used to generate electricity and two thirds is heat which is usually discarded. But using this heat can increase energy efficiencies to 75% or more (IPCC 2007).
Cogeneration technologies include turbines and fuel cells (pp.36-39). One brand new-to-the-world technology from Cold Power Systems (profiled p.41) is a new low-cost, lightweight, and energy efficient engine designed to generate electricity from heat in cogeneration applications. Cold Power’s engine is similar in its benefits to a conventional Stirling engine, but overcomes the significant drawbacks of the Stirling (such as high cost and large size) by using electronic valve timing and an external heat exchanger.
Other companies in Alberta are also developing world class technologies to increase energy efficiency such as:
• May-Ruben Thermal Solutions (profiled p.43) with a new high efficiency refrigeration/heater
• Quantiam Technologies (profiled p.43) whose nanotechnology is revolutionizing the petrochemical industry
• Hieco (profiled p.42) with a new pasteurization process
Since 2000, Canada’s labour productivity growth rate has been very weak and steadily slipping relative to other countries. Since increased productivity growth is one of the strongest drivers of the standard of living, this is a major economic challenge for Canada. However, in the process of learning how to increase energy efficiencies and reduce GHG emissions, many companies have learned how to work more efficiently thereby improving their productivity and operating costs.
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Productivity Alberta helps companies identify opportunities for productivity improvement and find the tools, resources and services needed to achieve their productivity goals. Productivity is about working smarter, not harder, and doing more with what you have. It’s the secret to creating more profit and being more competitive, and every type of business can benefit. It has a FREE Productivity Assessment Tool on the website to help companies find their path to a stronger bottom line. Contact: www.productivityalberta.ca, 780.427.6648
Canada is a world leader in green chemistry research, focused on developing clean, less energy intensive alternatives to traditional chemical products and manufacturing processes. GreenCentre Canada offers small and medium-sized Canadian companies access to green chemistry business and application development services, customized to their unique needs. The centre includes scaleup and testing facilities as well as access to scientific and industry expertise.
Contact: www.greencentrecanada.com, 613.507.4700