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Improving Energy Performance in Canada – Report to Parliament Under the Energy Efficiency Act For the Fiscal Year 2009-2010

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Chapter 4 Energy Science and Technology

Introduction

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) invests in the research, development and demonstration (R,D&D) of new and emerging clean energy science and technology (S&T) that produces economic, social and environmental benefits for Canadians. NRCan’s Office of Energy Research and Development (OERD) and CanmetENERGY lead the federal government’s energy S&T operations.

The OERD oversees the management of the Program of Energy Research and Development (PERD), the ecoENERGY Technology Initiative and the Clean Energy Fund. These programs allocated more than $120.5 million in the 2009–2010 fiscal year. The funds help find new, long-term, cleaner and more efficient solutions to reducing environmental emissions by developing and disseminating new knowledge and new technologies through R,D&D initiatives. Slightly more than 75 percent of the programs and activities allocated by the OERD are managed and carried out by the Department (including CanmetENERGY). The six departmental priorities listed under CanmetENERGY also apply to the OERD.

CanmetENERGY generates and provides knowledge and technologies to advance the development and use of innovative solutions contributing to the well-being of Canadians and to progress toward meeting Canada’s economic, social and environmental policy objectives. It works with industry, academia, utilities, associations, non-governmental organizations and other governments to develop and demonstrate energy-efficient, alternative and renewable energy technologies and processes.

CanmetENERGY undertakes projects and activities in the following areas of expertise:

  • clean energy systems for buildings and communities
  • clean electric power generation
  • clean energy systems for industry
  • clean transportation energy
  • environmentally sustainable oil and gas development
  • sustainable bioenergy

This chapter describes in detail the programs, activities and 2009–2010 key achievements of the OERD, CanmetENERGY and other partners in energy S&T.

For more information:
nrcan.gc.ca/eneene/science/resres-eng.php
canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca

Program of Energy Research and Development

Objective

To fund research and development (R&D) designed to ensure a sustainable energy future for Canada in the best interests of its economy and the environment.

Description

PERD supports R&D activities within nine portfolios, comprising oil sands and offshore regulatory issues, sustainable bioenergy, the reduction of air impacts, the improvement of efficiency in electricity, the integration of alternative and renewable energy into the grid, and the improvement of efficiencies in end-use, with a focus on transportation, buildings and industry. Efficiencies are sought in energy production, distribution and end use. Examples of funded projects appear throughout this chapter.

The portfolios are managed holistically and encompass the entire innovation spectrum – from basic research to applied research, pilot plants and demonstrations, – ensuring faster deployment of technologies developed with federal funds.

The PERD budget for the 2009–2010 fiscal year was approximately $54.9 million. Of that amount, $17.4 million was allocated to 12 federal departments and agencies that are PERD partners, mostly to improve the science supporting Canadian regulations related to energy production and use. The remaining $37.5 million was allocated to energy R&D programs managed and performed in NRCan, more than 70 percent of which contributed to improved energy efficiency and the integration of renewable energy sources in Canada.

ecoENERGY Technology Initiative

Objective

To support the development of next-generation energy technologies needed to break through to emissions-free fossil fuel production, as well as for producing energy from other clean sources, such as renewables and bioenergy, and to advance the development and use of new clean energy technologies in end-use sectors.

Description

The ecoENERGY Technology Initiative is a component of ecoACTION, the Government of Canada’s actions toward clean air and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. It is a $230-million investment in clean energy S&T. The funding helps in the search for long-term solutions to reducing and eliminating air pollutants from energy production and use.

Part of the funding has been allocated to the demonstration of carbon capture and storage. Eight projects have been selected in this area. Spending in the 2009–2010 fiscal year was nearly $45.6 million.

Clean Energy Fund

Objective

To fund the demonstration of technologies, including large-scale carbon capture and storage projects, and renewable energy and clean energy systems demonstrations to reduce GHG emissions reductions and increase the percentage of electricity produced from clean sources.

Description

The $795-million Clean Energy Fund, a component of Canada’s Economic Action Plan announced in 2009, provides funding for the demonstration of promising technologies to support the Government of Canada’s commitments to reducing GHG emissions. Approximately 20 percent of the Clean Energy Fund has been committed to or earmarked for renewable and clean energy system projects and research related to marine energy, smart grid, wind, energy storage, bioenergy, geothermal energy in the North, and community energy systems.

The Clean Energy Fund expenditures for the 2009–2010 fiscal year were approximately $30 million. Of that, $6 million was allocated to energy demonstration projects, which will contribute directly and indirectly to improved energy efficiency and the integration of renewable energy sources in Canada.

Key 2009-2010 Achievements

  • Nineteen demonstration projects in renewable energy and clean energy technologies were announced in 2009–2010. These projects for renewable and clean energy systems will demonstrate marine energy, smart grid, wind, energy storage, bioenergy, geothermal energy in the North, and community energy systems.

For more information:
nrcan.gc.ca/eneene/science/renren-eng.php

Clean Energy Systems for Buildings and Communities

Objective

To develop, demonstrate and promote – in domestic and foreign markets – technologies, practical decision-making tools, processes, codes, standards and best practices that help communities select more efficient and cost-effective energy, waste and water technologies and design solutions to support a sustainable energy future based on reduced energy consumption and GHG emissions.

Description

CanmetENERGY plays a leadership role in the R,D&D of energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies for houses, buildings and communities by

  • fostering the commercialization of new technologies
  • identifying and developing opportunities for the integration of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies
  • developing infrastructure to support innovation, such as codes, policies and standards
  • developing linkages between utilities, industry and academia
  • supporting training and education
  • disseminating results and findings
  • facilitating the export of Canadian technologies to international markets
  • engaging in international co-operation

Specific work includes the development of innovative technologies, particularly integrated systems, design, modelling and analysis tools and integrated design approaches, such as building energy simulation software, making it possible to achieve greater energy efficiency to be implemented at minimal incremental costs. CanmetENERGY develops, distributes and supports building energy simulation software for the Canadian construction industry and Government of Canada ecoACTION programs.

CanmetENERGY is active in conceiving, developing and optimizing energy-efficient space and water heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration technologies, thermal storage systems and micro co-generation systems through, for example, standards development, energy efficiency labelling, heat recovery systems, combined heat and power and energy conversion and storage systems, integration of technologies and adaptation to the Canadian context.

CanmetENERGY assists in increasing the use of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV) energy technologies in Canada by developing technologies, standards, policies and programs to create a Canadian-based, globally competitive solar industry. Other work includes community energy systems, daylighting, intelligent building control and operation systems, and the commissioning/recommissioning of buildings.

CanmetENERGY’s partnerships with industry help to build advanced residential and commercial buildings that incorporate a wide array of innovative technologies and consume significantly less energy than their conventional counterparts. Under cost-sharing arrangements to accelerate the development and commercialization of a new generation of advanced and energy-efficient technologies, CanmetENERGY is helping the Canadian residential and commercial building industry produce some of the most environmentally advanced structures on the planet.

Key 2009-2010 Achievements

  • CanmetENERGY increased the number of users of the RETScreen®8 Clean Energy Project Analysis Software to more than 242 000 people in 222 countries, adding an average of 1000 new users every week (see Figure 4-1). More than 250 colleges and universities worldwide are now using RETScreen for education. As well, RETScreen was selected for several external awards, including the Summit Award for Leadership in Green Procurement (recipient), the Leadership Award at the Euromoney and Ernst & Young Global Renewable Energy Awards (finalist), and the Technology and Innovation Application Award at the GLOBE Awards for Environmental Excellence (finalist).

FIGURE 4-1 RETScreen Software: Cumulative Growth of User Base.

  • The DABOTM software developed by CanmetENERGY helped reduce building energy consumption at the Palais des congrès de Montréal by 10 percent in 2008–2009 and 13 percent in 2009–2010. DABO is a fault detection and diagnosis, performance analysis and documented history creation software application. This continuous building optimization program adds intelligence and memory to the building automation system. IFCS was selected as the commercial partner for licensing DABO and distributing it in Canada, Europe and China. Several projects to introduce DABO commercially are under development.

  • North America’s first solar seasonal storage community is meeting 80 percent of space heating needs with solar energy in its third year of operation. This milestone at the Drake Landing Solar Community in Okotoks, Alberta, is the highest performance level achieved anywhere in the world. This significant achievement gives confidence that the overall goal of more than 90 percent of heating needs being met by solar energy by year five is achievable.

  • The Local Energy Efficiency PartnershipTM (LEEP) is a process that enables builders to determine which new energy-efficient and renewable technologies best fit their production homes. CanmetENERGY and EnerQuality are expanding the pilot project of the LEEP process in four Ontario cities. The project will produce 40 demonstration homes within two years. CanmetENERGY is further developing the technology information for the LEEP processes so that each is tailored to the interests of the particular region.

  • CanmetENERGY is examining the system performance of an innovative cold climate air-source heat pump. The project will monitor the long-term operation of the ACADIATM pump from Hallowell International under a variety of climatic conditions. In particular, the project will track its performance at lower outdoor ambient temperatures than those currently considered practical for conventional pumps. The results of this work will help revise the heat pump performance standard.

  • CanmetENERGY and its partners – Smart Growth on the Ground and the City of Prince George, British Columbia – completed extensive testing of an energy mapping methodology that will allow communities across Canada to assess their GHG reduction capacity. The technique developed included input from municipal, utility, provincial and federal databases to characterize the energy consumption patterns of the city.

  • CanmetENERGY and its partners – Concordia University, the Canadian Solar Buildings Research Network, and Day4 Energy Inc. and Conserval Engineering, Inc. from the Canadian solar industry – designed and installed a combined solar power and heat generation system on a new building at Concordia’s headquarters in Montréal. Day4 Energy supplies PV panels, and Conserval Engineering supplies the SolarWall®. The integrated 24.5-kilowatt-peak (kWp) PV panels and the 76 kWp of heat by fresh air solar-heating with the SolarWall cover approximately the top two floors of the building’s south-facing façade. This demonstration in a commercial building showcases innovative means by which buildings of the future could produce energy for their own use, thereby reducing their demand on the electricity grid.

For more information:
canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/eng/buildings_communities.html

Clean Electric Power Generation

Objective

To develop and apply technologies for renewable electricity production and for cleaner power generation from fossil fuels, with the goal of increasing efficiency and achieving the reduction and, ultimately, the elimination of emissions of acid rain precursors, GHGs, particulates and identified priority substances, such as mercury, trace elements and organic compounds.

Description

CanmetENERGY’s work on clean electric power generation focuses on improving the economics and efficiency of renewable energy technologies, including wind energy, solar power, small and low-head hydro, marine energy and energy storage.

CanmetENERGY’s S&T supports the growth of the renewable energy industry in Canada by

  • fostering the development of new technologies

  • identifying and developing opportunities for building a « smart » power grid of renewable energy

  • developing infrastructure to support innovation, such as codes, policies and standards

  • developing linkages between utilities, industry and academia

  • conducting nationwide resource assessments and mapping

CanmetENERGY also focuses on improving the performance of, and reducing emissions from, existing fossil fuel power plants. Moreover, it focuses on developing new advanced cycles for the conversion of fossil fuels to electricity with complete or near-complete capture and elimination of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions. Additional research includes work on issues associated with the transport and storage of CO2. Through advanced tools and technologies, CanmetENERGY assists major industrial energy consumers in reducing the energy intensity of their operations and in reducing GHG emissions and emissions of other air pollutants, while enhancing competitiveness and profitability.

CanmetENERGY’s work on emerging technologies in clean power includes new forms of power generation, such as wind, solar photovoltaics, small hydro, marine, natural gas combined-cycle plants and advanced fluidized bed combustion. Significant R&D also focuses on CO2-neutral combustion systems, CO2 sequestration, CO2 injection for enhanced oil recovery, advanced power generation cycles, clean coal technologies and distributed energy resources. CanmetENERGY also conducts leading-edge work in the burgeoning priority area of decentralized energy resources, where renewable energy sources are becoming more localized and integrated into the main power grid.

CanmetENERGY

  • addresses the technical, institutional and regulatory barriers to clean power by promoting power grid integration, developing standards, generating knowledge and transferring important information to Canadian decision-makers

  • provides stakeholders with the necessary information to make informed decisions, and coordinates various research projects

  • participates in international committees that establish standards and codes

  • develops and hosts workshops and conferences

  • develops publications and produces training tools

  • capitalizes on its sector expertise by carrying out projects in collaboration with key research consortia, including industry, universities, research groups, public services and other departments and governments

Key 2009-2010 Achievements

  • CanmetENERGY collaborated with the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in the design and demonstration of solar PV “mini-grid” systems in a remote community in British Columbia. This project evaluated the benefits of three key improvements: installing PV systems on six houses (totalling 27 kilowatts [kW]), replacing a 90-kW generator with a 30-kW unit and installing a switch to control commercial and institutional electricity loads. The annual savings in diesel fuel was 26 000 litres compared with the reference year – a reduction of 25 percent in fuel and 73 tonnes (t) of GHG emissions.

  • A nickel mining and processing company is carrying out an in-plant trial of an energy efficiency and emissions control strategy, jointly developed with CanmetENERGY. The new process is expected to reduce electricity needs by 14 percent (from 43 megawatts [MW] to 37 MW) and reduce petroleum coke consumption by 25 percent (from 4 t per hour (t/hr) to 3 t/hr). As a result, the direct and indirect reduction of CO2 emissions is expected to be 120 kilotonnes (kt) per year. In addition, the new process is expected to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 20 kt per year, which makes a $300-million scrubbing treatment unnecessary.

  • Oxyfuel fluidized bed combustion (FBC) units were developed at CanmetENERGY to examine oxyfuel firing in FBC systems. The bench-scale units are the first and the pilot-scale units the largest units built to date that demonstrate oxyfuel FBC technology with flue gas recycling. This technology can produce a pure CO2 stream for capture and storage while burning a wide range of carbon-based fuels. Foster Wheeler Canada Ltd. is using the pilot-scale unit for fuel evaluation as a prelude to the company building a 300-MW electrical commercial scale demonstration unit.

  • CanmetENERGY is developing a technology for hot scrubbing CO2 for carbon capture and storage to replace amine scrubbing, thus reducing the energy penalty of CO2 removal from power plants. CanmetENERGY is the first to demonstrate the technology experimentally. It also has developed several new methods of improving sorbent performance for CO2 removal and a novel sorbent using a unique and inexpensive pelletization technology that has shown the best performance so far reported in the literature.

  • CanmetENERGY is leading the development of marine energy standards as Chair of Technical Committee (TC) 114. This committee was established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and was mandated to produce global standards for these technologies. CanmetENERGY is leading the development of a technical specification that will provide uniform terminology for this sector. The standards developed through the IEC serve as a basis for national standardization. Active participation by members from CanmetENERGY in IEC TC 114 allows Canada to be at the forefront of standards development for this industry.

  • CanmetENERGY, in co-operation with Core Energy Technologies, Inc. and Ontario’s electrical and gas equipment approval agencies, installed a Stirling engine micro-cogeneration unit in an Ottawa area home, as a showcase and pilot testing opportunity. The unit is fuelled by natural gas and provides space heating and domestic hot water production while generating 1 kW of grid-tied electrical power. This technology is being adapted to also provide backup power for critical electrical loads during emergency power outages. CanmetENERGY has created new electrical testing capacity for the integration and evaluation of such systems under closely controlled laboratory conditions, which will lead to a better understanding of how to optimize micro-cogeneration products for the Canadian marketplace.

  • CanmetENERGY cooperated with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) in the adoption and publication of two PV module performance standards: CAN/CSA-C61215:08 is a design qualification standard for crystalline silicon PV modules and CAN/CSA-C61646:10 is the equivalent for thin film PV modules. Thin film technologies, a second generation of PV modules, are gaining a larger share of the PV market. Adopting these two international standards provides a technical basis for the design certification of PV modules sold in Canada and ensures the availability of high-quality PV modules for the Canadian market. CanmetENERGY chairs the Canadian national committee to the IEC for solar PV energy with an objective of ensuring harmonization of standards requirements at a global level.

For more information:
canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/eng/clean_fossils_fuels.html
canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/eng/renewables.html

Clean Energy Systems for Industry

Objective

To identify, encourage and support the development and application of leading-edge, energy-efficient and environmentally responsible processes, practices, products, systems and equipment in Canadian industry to improve its energy efficiency, productivity, competitiveness and profitability, while reducing GHG emissions and other environmental impacts.

Description

CanmetENERGY works with industry to co-manage and share the costs of development and commercialization of a range of technologies, including process integration, learning-based expert systems, combustion systems and controls, manufacturing processes, and environmentally friendly and energy-efficient processes for energy-intensive industries. CanmetENERGY’s S&T in the industry sector focuses on plant-wide industrial process analysis techniques and advanced process control systems that identify and correct inefficiencies in plant operation and design while taking into account energy, economic and environmental aspects.

CanmetENERGY’s S&T also includes the development and testing of semi-pilot-scale plants, pilot plants, prototypes and full-scale field trials. This research evaluates operating performance, energy efficiency and environmental impacts and emerging concepts in chemical and energy conversion, including hydrogen production from hydrocarbon and renewable sources. In addition, CanmetENERGY disseminates technical information to encourage adoption of these techniques and practices in targeted energy intensive sectors of Canadian industry.

CanmetENERGY clients are from a variety of industries, including pulp and paper, gas, oil upgrading and refining, petrochemicals, engine manufacturing, steel, chemicals, food and drink, solid wood, waste oil recycling and rendering, and specialty ceramic manufacturing. Its other clients are gas and electric utilities, equipment manufacturers and other governments.

Key 2009-2010 Achievements

  • CanmetENERGY signed a three-year agreement with the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique to provide technical support for three demonstration projects in the food and beverage sector. The projects will demonstrate the benefits of integrating the refrigeration systems with the thermal energy system of the facilities and will foster the implementation of systems that use natural refrigerants instead of synthetic refrigerants. Additionally, the agreement requires that CanmetENERGY provide recommendations for an incentive program that targets the retrofit or installation of refrigeration systems in Quebec food-processing plants.

  • In collaboration with the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique in Quebec, CanmetENERGY delivered the first Canadian advanced training session on heat integration of industrial processes to engineering firms, consultants, utilities and industries. Participants also had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the newly developed process integration software that identifies and evaluates the impact of heat recovery projects in small and medium-sized enterprises and in large industries. These activities are part of a multiyear capacity building program to improve energy efficiency in Quebec.

  • CanmetENERGY signed a four-year research agreement with Institut de recherche d’Hydro-Québec to develop a systematic approach to identify and recover energy from waste heat in industry. The main objective of this project is to develop a decision-making tool for the selection of waste heat recovery and upgrading solutions. The agreement also includes the development of advanced technologies such as heat pump and power production cycles, as well as a full-scale demonstration project at an industrial site. The recovery of energy from waste heat represents one of the greatest opportunities for reducing energy use and GHG emissions in industry.

For more information:
canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/eng/industrial_processes.html

Environmentally Sustainable Oil and Gas

Objective

To provide S&T for the continued, secure supply of affordable, cleaner and more efficient fossil fuels, with little or no adverse environmental impact on GHG and Criteria Air Contaminant (CAC) emissions, and thereby help resolve oil sands environmental issues (including water) and clean air issues for the upstream oil and gas industry.

Description

CanmetENERGY conducts fundamental and applied research to develop knowledge and implement leading-edge technologies for the oil sands sector. Knowledge gained is used to inform energy policy development and industry decisions that will improve the quality of life for Canadians.

CanmetENERGY fosters innovation in oil sands and heavy oil technology through activities ranging from fundamental science to commercial-scale technical support. CanmetENERGY’s strength lies in its staff’s fundamental understanding of the chemistry, physics and engineering of oil sands and heavy oil processes, coupled with sophisticated analytical instrumentation and pilot-scale units providing proof of concept for technologies.

S&T is a key tool used by NRCan to make significant progress toward meeting its water and tailings, GHG and other air emissions challenges in the oil and gas sector. Major improvements need to be made in the entire process chain of oil sands and heavy oil development, from the initial extraction to the production of petroleum products.

CanmetENERGY’s international client base and partnerships with provincial and territorial governments, industry and academia ensure that the best available technologies in the world can be applied to the resource. Its partnerships also ensure there are strong synergies and fast-track deployment of new technologies, innovations and knowledge dissemination.

Key 2009-2010 Achievements

  • CanmetENERGY is leading the research in developing monitoring technologies and protocols to quantify total particulate matter (PM) and the black carbon fraction from upstream oil and gas industry flares. PM, in particular the black carbon fraction of the total PM, is believed to be a highly potent source of GHG emissions. Early results from this research have been recognized internationally by the World Bank Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership, the International Methane to Markets Partnership and the Arctic Council.

  • CanmetENERGY worked with Syncrude Canada Ltd. to demonstrate a new dry stackable tailings technology known as rim ditching. Preliminary results from this large pilot test (80 000 cubic metres) are very promising. This method would be another way of managing oil sands fine tailings by decreasing the amount of water that is trapped in the pore space of fine tailings. After this water is removed, it can be recycled back to the process, thereby reducing the volume of fresh water required from the Athabasca River.

  • CanmetENERGY identified silica-organic compounds in process water and their role in causing problems in recycling process water for in situ operations. This work was related to a major project for a steam-assisted gravity drainage operation that was investigating issues with its process water. Because in situ production is becoming the more prominent process, it is essential to understand the chemistry associated with recycling process water to reduce the demand on water resources.

  • NRCan’s Horizontal Task Team on Water completed its report on building a competitive advantage through sustainable water use, a freshwater strategy for the Department. This report outlines NRCan’s recommended policy for issues about water that need to be addressed. This report gives NRCan guidance to focus research and policy development on water issues.

  • CanmetENERGY and United States’ national laboratories analysed the chemistry of diesel fuels and fuel blends. Fuel chemistry was assessed to determine its compatibility with advanced engines designed to produce no nitrogen oxide and PM emissions with maximum efficiency. CanmetENERGY worked with the Fuels for Advanced Combustion Engines working group within the Coordinating Research Council to examine fuels and combustion interactions.

For more information:
canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/eng/clean_fossils_fuels.html

Clean Transportation Energy

Objective

To develop and deploy, in partnership with industry, academia and the provinces and territories, leading-edge hydrogen, fuel cell and transportation energy technologies that reduce GHG emissions and minimize urban air pollution.

Description

CanmetENERGY works with stakeholders in domestic and international hydrogen and transportation industries. These industries include original equipment manufacturers, industry associations, fleet managers, transit authorities, utilities, provincial and territorial governments, research organizations, universities, other federal departments, the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy. Together, in these partnerships, projects are well leveraged – typically at a 50:50 ratio.

Transportation research, development and deployment activities at CanmetENERGY are grouped into three principal technology areas: hydrogen and fuel cells, hybrid and electric vehicles, and advanced fuels and technologies. All three technology areas are highly involved in domestic and international outreach, and safety, codes and standards for technology adaption and integration.

Since the early 1980s, CanmetENERGY’s partnerships with industry have been playing a significant role in establishing Canada as a world leader in fuel cell and hydrogen-refuelling technologies.

Today near-term accomplishments are being made in the transportation and materials handling sectors. R&D in production, storage and utilization continue to lower costs and improve the performance of the hydrogen technologies.

Hydrogen fuelling stations and hydrogen-powered forklifts, airport baggage-tuggers, personal vehicles and shuttle buses continue to be deployed across Canada. In addition to vehicles and fuelling stations, developments in waste hydrogen capture and purification, production, distribution and storage are building the hydrogen infrastructure.

As well, applications in markets outside the transportation sector are being realized, such as micro fuel cells/portable applications (e.g. laptops and cellular phones) and stationary applications (e.g. off-grid and backup power for computers and buildings).

Electricity as an alternative transportation fuel is also becoming a near-term reality for Canada. Hybrid and electric vehicle technologies offer energy-saving advantages over current vehicle technologies that run solely on conventional fuels, such as gasoline or diesel.

CanmetENERGY is involved in R&D of on-board energy-storage and power systems, such as batteries and fuel cells. As the Government of Canada’s lead, CanmetENERGY plays a significant role in coordinating and reviewing technical input from many private and public partners for the Canadian Electric Vehicle Technology Roadmap (evTRM).

Advanced fuels and technologies encompass all fuels and technologies in addition to hydrogen and fuel cells and hybrid and electric vehicles – examples are biodiesel, natural gas and ethanol. CanmetENERGY supports R&D for testing advanced fuels and fuel usage, as well as engine performance and components.

This area of R&D is serving to strengthen a Canadian industry that is now exporting commercial products. International collaborative efforts are helping to leverage Canada’s research funding – particularly for the evaluation of fuels and hardware performance and in developing standards.

Key 2009-2010 Achievements

Research and Development

  • CanmetENERGY partnered with the Canadian electric vehicle industry to produce an evTRM, published in January 2010. The evTRM identified strategic initiatives needed to support the implementation of electric vehicles on Canadian roads. An interdepartmental working group on electric mobility was formed to focus Government of Canada R&D efforts.

  • Humidification is an important and delicate function of fuel cell performance. In fiscal year 2009–2010, CanmetENERGY supported research at dPoint Technologies Inc. to develop a fuel cell humidifier that uses a proton exchange membrane. This new membrane reduces the cost of humidifiers for 5-kW fuel cells from $2,500 to $60. More than 65 fuel cell companies in 15 countries are using this new low-cost humidifier.

  • CanmetENERGY’s hydrogen and fuel cell laboratory in Ottawa, Ontario, processed and characterized new materials for fuel cells and new nanomaterials for hydrogen storage. The two-year-old laboratory provides research expertise to external partners and access to unique facilities to meet joint technical targets. Canadian partners include Vale, the University of Waterloo, the University of Calgary and the NSERC Hydrogen Canada (H2CAN) Strategic Research Network supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

  • In 2009, CanmetENERGY began coordinating a project on the life-cycle analysis of alternative fuels and technologies for urban transit buses, in conjunction with the IEA and Environment Canada. The project examines the environmental performance and ownership costs of various technology options. The resulting data will help transit authorities make decisions about alternative fuel and technology purchases and use.

Demonstration

  • In 2010, the five Ford Focus fuel cell vehicles of the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program in British Columbia completed five years of operation and the fleet exceeded 350 000 kilometres (km). One of the vehicles exceeded 95 000 km, and none of the vehicles have had major component failures.

  • The Canadian airport hydrogen project, the largest multiapplication hydrogen and fuel cell demonstration project in Canada, was launched in 2009. The project is located at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport in Montréal, Quebec, and at the Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia. It will demonstrate and field test hydrogen technologies, including portable, mobile and stationary applications, as well as hydrogen fuelling infrastructure.

  • In 2009, CanmetENERGY maintained involvement in demonstration projects under the National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative (NRDDI). The NRDDI supports the mandate proposed by the Government of Canada of a 2 percent annual average renewable diesel content in the Canadian diesel pool by 2012. These projects covered the use of various biodiesel blends in on-road heavy-duty trucks, off-road equipment in forestry and construction, marine engines and rail agricultural equipment, as well as in stationary furnaces and electricity generators.

For more information:
canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/eng/transportation.html

Sustainable Bioenergy

Objective

To assist Canadian industry in the R,D&D of bioenergy technologies, thereby increasing the production and use of bioenergy, which generates environmental and economic benefits.

Description

CanmetENERGY supports the R,D&D of bioenergy technology through cost-shared agreements, promotes bioenergy as a renewable and sustainable energy source, advocates the need for proper policies and programs relating to bioenergy, and raises the public’s and policy-makers’ awareness of the benefits of bioenergy.

CanmetENERGY’s biomass energy conversion technology expertise covers the following main processes:

  • combustion – converting forestry, agricultural and municipal residues into heat and power under environmentally sound conditions

  • gasification – converting forestry, agricultural and municipal residues into syngas

  • pyrolysis – converting forestry and agricultural residues into bio-oils and value-added products

  • fermentation – converting the starch and cellulose components in biomass into bio-ethanol

  • transesterification – converting a variety of new and used vegetable oils, tallow and yellow grease into bio-diesel

  • anaerobic digestion – converting manures and food-processing and municipal wastes into methane-rich biogas

Activities focus on improving the reliability and lowering the cost of technologies, disseminating information on technology feasibility and economics to potential users, and helping industry demonstrate its products in domestic and foreign markets.

Initiatives include R,D&D, technical and socio-economic studies, end-use demonstrations and testing, feasibility studies, process analysis, verification, testing and improvement, standards development, emissions reductions, modelling, conference and workshop support, information dissemination, IEA collaboration and committees, stakeholder education, and standards development.

CanmetENERGY plays a leadership role in the Canadian Biomass Innovation Network, a multidepartmental working group formed to direct federal R&D on bioenergy and bioproducts. Clients include the agricultural and forestry sectors (biomass producers and bioenergy consumers), municipalities and industrial partners.

Key 2009-2010 Achievements

  • There is no mature foundation of standard practices for using biomass fuels for power generation. With funding from NRCan, Ontario Power Generation carried out an extensive review of global utility industry experience and global standards regarding process safety and industrial hygiene. The review investigated issues about the safe storage and handling of biomass, identified process safety and industrial hygiene risks and recommended mitigating actions and safety requirements.

  • CanmetENERGY developed a pyrolysis project under the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue, which reflects the strong interest of both countries in this technology area. The overall objective of this collaboration is to improve the potential for using the biomass pyrolysis pathway to generate biofuels for transport and stationary uses and for biorefinery applications.

  • In an NRCan-supported project, Nexterra Systems Corp. completed the construction and commissioning of a first-of-its-kind project in the Kruger Products tissue mill in New Westminster, British Columbia. This demonstration project was the critical step in commercializing the direct-fired gasification technology application for boilers and is expected to be replicated by leaders in the North American forest industry.

  • Nexterra Systems Corp. received the Sustainability Champion Award from the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The award was for Nexterra’s leadership and contribution in making sustainability an integral part of the 2010 Olympics through strategic advice and support for the carbon offset program. Nexterra has acknowledged that it could not have achieved these successes without the support of NRCan and others over the years.

  • CanmetENERGY led the collaboration among industry, government and academic stakeholders required to provide accurate, highly technical information to develop an ASTM International standard for pyrolysis oil. This will be the first worldwide standard for pyrolysis oil.

  • CanmetENERGY supported the revision of the new CSA standard B415.1-10, Performance testing of solid-fuel-burning heating appliances. Improvements to the new version include stricter emission rates, the inclusion of appliances not covered previously (central heating furnaces and hydronic boilers) and the incorporation of alternative efficiency measurements.

  • PlanET Biogas Solutions of St. Catharines, Ontario, designed, engineered and optimized two full-scale anerobic digestion systems to test the digestion of various agriculture and agri-food residues.

  • In collaboration with the Wood Pellet Association of Canada, CanmetENERGY provided funding and technical expertise to develop The Pellet Handbook. The aim of this IEA-led activity is to contribute to pellet use within the energy sector. Canada has unique experience and expertise in pellet production, handling, storage and transportation.

For more information:
canmetenergy.nrcan.gc.ca/eng/bioenergy.html

Canadian Biomass Innovation Network

Objective

To develop sustainable and cost-effective technologies in bioenergy, biofuels and industrial bioprocesses for market acceptance while utilizing biomass resources in a sustainable and responsible way.

Description

The Canadian Biomass Innovation Network (CBIN) supports strategic R&D in bioenergy, biofuels, bioproducts and industrial bioprocesses to reduce fossil fuel energy consumption, directly or indirectly reduce GHG and CAC emissions, diversify the energy supply and seed the development of Canada’s bio-based economy.

CBIN is a horizontal program developed and managed by five departments: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment Canada, Industry Canada, National Research Council Canada and NRCan. CBIN coordinates and manages two federal government bio-based R&D initiatives:

  • the PERD Bio-Based Energy Systems and Technologies program ($3.0 million in
    2009–2010)

  • the ecoENERGY Technology Initiative Bio-Based Energy Systems ($2.1 million in 2009–2010)

Key 2009-2010 Achievements

  • A standard was developed for residential wood heating appliances: CSA B415.1-10, Performance testing of solid-fuel-burning heating appliances. The test results of the four wood-heating appliances were incorporated into recommendations for the standard. The standard is now available. The revised standard is a significant step toward regulations for residential wood-heating appliances.

  • The development of an ASTM International standard for pyrolysis oil (ASTM D7544-09) was a significant development. Previously, there were no worldwide standards for pyrolysis oil. Significant co-operation was required among industry, government and academic stakeholders. This specification covers a pyrolysis liquid biofuel produced from biomass that is intended for use in industrial burners equipped to handle these types of fuels.

  • A pilot anaerobic digestion (AD) mobile unit was operated for six months at La Pinière Wastewater Treatment Plant in Laval, Quebec, to treat municipal wastewater excess sludge. This pilot demonstrated the applicability of AD to municipal biosolids, the validation of AD at the pilot scale and the development of a high-impact partnership with a municipal government. The demonstration proved the valorization of organic waste into renewable energy, with potential for reduction of GHGs. The research estimated that the insertion of AD in the current chain of sludge treatment at La Pinière could potentially reduce more than 10 t of organic solids per day, generate 5250 normal cubic metres of gas per day (Nm3/d) or 3150 normal cubic metres of methane per day (Nm3CH4/d) of biogas and reduce GHG emissions by 4000 t CO2 equivalent per year.

  • A new third-generation bio-baler developed in 2009 harvested willow in plantations at a rate of 30 to 40 bales an hour – a significant improvement over the first generation bio-baler. This new harvest rate corresponds to a range of 14 to 18 t of fresh crop per hectare (ha) (7 to 9 t dry matter/ha). The machine is robust and may soon compete economically with modified self-propelled forage harvesters, which are the only commercial machines used to harvest willow from plantations in the form of wood chips.

For more information:
cbin.gc.ca

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