Upcoming EMAN Conference

I came across the following conference via a list-serve – looks very interesting but unfortunately I’ve committed to go to GLOBE 2014 in Vancouver at the same time!  So instead, I’m just going to repost the article here.

How to Dismantle the Resource Efficiency Black Box 

I particularly like the simple diagram which leads this post as it nicely captures the range of tools available and also the lack of integration among these tools.

Energy Mapping Project Announced

I’ve written about Energy Mapping before.    I’m happy to say that this project is now underway!


Natural Resources Canada today announced its funding of $500,000 to a Climate Change Central (C3)-led project on energy mapping.  AITF is a key project partner, with Environment and Carbon Management researchers leading the data collection, industry engagement, and information synthesis work.   

 The energy mapping project will contribute to emission reduction opportunity analysis by identifying waste heat capture opportunities in Canada’s largest hydro-carbon processing industrial park.  The longer term aim is to use this baseline energy information to identify regional energy integration opportunities, change industrial culture, and influence future clean energy technology selection.    

 The Industrial Heartland is an ideal location for improving energy efficiencies, with a lot of industrial activity happening in a relatively small area. However, you first have to determine how much heat is available, at what temperatures, and the types of input energy sources (e.g., natural gas, electricity) that are being used so one can figure out not only the best uses for low-grade waste heat, but also identify the larger energy integration opportunities.

 A major part of AITF’s role in this project is helping to break down the cultural barriers preventing companies from sharing levels of energy information, while at the same time establish a regional industrial dataset.  Although there are plenty of examples from industrial parks outside of Canada that demonstrate how regional solutions can improve productivity, reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions – the reality is that site managers need to stay focused on meeting their site-level operational targets.  Thus, the goal of this project is to articulate the value proposition for looking at energy from a regional perspective which will enable the identification of energy integration opportunities that corporations operating in the Heartland have not historically considered. 

 Over 40 companies are based in the Industrial Heartland region, which borders five municipalities, including the cities of Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan.  Six companies are participating in the study.  Project leads and funders have agreed that assessment of low-grade waste heat in the Heartland presents the most immediate opportunity.  One option may be that waste heat is captured and fed into district heating systems to reduce or even eliminate natural gas use for neighboring communities, or alternatively the waste heat is used as an input for other light industrial processes by neighboring companies, or yet another option is that it is used to support compressed air energy storage, or some combination of options.  

 The long-term goal of energy mapping is to provide some of the baseline data needed to inform technology and investment decisions.  Energy mapping data will also help planners, utility companies and policy-makers make better decisions on how to create future integrated energy systems – like district heating.  A secondary goal for the project is to lay the groundwork so that energy mapping can be replicated in other regions of Alberta and Canada.  

Odds & Ends – Integrated Reporting

In the last few weeks, a whole bunch of articles and posts appeared which are all related to integrated reporting which are worth summarizing in this post:

  • The IIRC Released its first working prototype framework on integrated reporting.  An interesting document which will be the subject of a subsequent post in the near future.
  • A summary post on the President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s talk to an IIRC sponsored conference.  His main point:  the next 50 years will focus on resource productivity.
  • Another blog post on the 6 capitals which are being proposed to underly the IIRC reporting framework. These capitals include:  Financial, manufactured, human, intellectual, natural, and social.
  • An interview with Bob Eccles (one of the driving forces behind corporate social responsibility reporting) on Toby Webb’s blog where Bob offers his thoughts about what the next 2-3 years may hold for integrated reporting.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction for Oil Sands

Came across the following report by Suncor and Jacobs Consultancy titled “A Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap for Oil Sands“.   The report uses data and information from Suncor’s operations to try identify promising areas for reducing GHG emissions associated with all aspects of Alberta’s oil sands (in situ, mining, and upgrading).    A couple of findings stood out for me:

  • The biggest expected reductions in energy consumption and GHGs (10-30%) were found with technology improvements.  Project improvements provided the next largest opportunity (5-9%) and finally operation improvements which were in the range of 2-3%.  These were defined as:
    • Operational improvements (i.e., actions which do not require significant capital investment),
    • Project improvements (i.e., actions which require capital and have to go through a corporate approval process and typically have a payback period of <5 years),
    • Technology improvements (i.e., long-term changes based on technologies which are not yet market ready),
  • While potential payoffs were greatest for focusing on technology improvements, costs and risks associate were also the greatest.
  • Focusing on technology improvements would (over time) bring the overall carbon intensity of Alberta’s oil sands to be equal to that of Bachaquero, and Arab Medium crude oils.  However, this analysis does not take into account potential future improvements of these comparative baselines.
  • Finding ways to integrate low-level waste heat sources from upgraders and on-site power generation with mining and extraction facilities (which only require low temperature heat) can reduce the GHG intensity of bitumen extraction by 30-50%!

Overall, a very interesting and hopefully useful study!