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The Government of Canada is taking a leading role in improving energy efficiency through three pilot projects that will help to position Canada as a global leader in clean energy management. The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced these initiatives, which are being carried out in collaboration with the Clean Energy Ministerial of the Major Economies Forum, during a two-day clean energy meeting that hosted delegates from more than 20 countries.
“Canada is a leader in clean energy technology, and we are proud to share our expertise with the world,” said Minister Paradis. “Through international collaboration, countries can learn from one another’s experiences and best practices to encourage energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
While in Washington, Minister Paradis also underlined Canada’s rich endowment of natural resources — from uranium to hydroelectricity to the oil sands and its benefits. “The reality is, this a key strategic resource that will clearly contribute to energy security for Canada, for North America and for the entire world until well into the 21st century,” said Minister Paradis. “The oil sands are also a crucial economic driver contributing substantial employment across all of Canada. Along with the industry, we are also investing in innovative technologies to address the challenges of oil sands development.”
Canada undertake the three pilot projects under the Global Superior Energy Partnership Initiative. These pilots will serve to further the Canada–U.S. Clean Energy Dialogue and support the development and implementation of ISO 50001, the new international standard for energy management. This important tool will allow energy users to identify energy savings and to develop and implement actions to maximize energy performance.
The projects are:
- A pilot project with the Ontario Power Authority to help five Ontario manufacturing facilities successfully implement the ISO 50001 energy management standard;
- A U.S.–Canada pilot program with the global technology firm 3M to identify energy performance improvement opportunities and to develop and implement actions to maximize energy performance in a Canadian plant; and,
- A buildings pilot project to test the implementation of the standard for energy management in Natural Resources Canada buildings.
These pilots will improve understanding of the development and implementation of energy management systems for buildings and industry, and will draw on Canada’s benchmarking, data collection and reporting expertise. The knowledge gathered from these initiatives will be shared with other countries.
This work complements other investments in energy efficiency, which include upgrading the National Energy Code for Buildings, enhancing the Energy Efficiency Act and supporting home retrofits in up to 500,000 homes.
Canada will also actively engage in the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliances Deployment Initiative, the International Smart Grid Action Network and the Carbon Capture Use and Storage Action Group.
For more information on the new initiatives, visit: www.cleanenergyministerial.org
Government energy ministers gathering in Washington, D.C., today launched 11 energy-efficiency and renewable energy initiatives around the world, which they claim will avoid the need to build 500 midsize power plants during the next 20 years.
“These steps will promote economic growth, create jobs and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” Chu said. “What we’ve seen here is that working together, we can accomplish more, faster, than working alone.”
The United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia and 20 other countries participating in the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial will work collaboratively on the projects, which include deploying electric vehicles, smart grids, solar-powered lanterns and efficient household appliances, said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who hosted the summit.
Initiatives Fact Sheets:
- Bioenergy Working Group (PDF -108 KB)
- Carbon Capture Use and Storage Action Group (PDF – 119 KB)
- Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Women’s Initiative (PDF – 139 KB)
- Clean Energy Solutions Centers (PDF – 112 KB)
- Electric Vehicles Initiative (PDF – 121 KB)
- The Global Superior Energy Performance Partnership (PDF – 124 KB)
- International Smart Grid Action Network (PDF – 122 KB)
- Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group (PDF – 112 KB)
- Solar and LED Energy Access Program (PDF – 114 KB)
- Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Initiative (PDF – 131 KB)
- Sustainable Development of Hydropower Initiative (PDF – 69 KB)
Are there really 2010 reasons? There are far more than that. Just take one modern, diversified economy with excellent business conditions and financial stability. Add in dozens of advanced industries and “clusters” of R&D and innovation. Then count the thousands of innovative, competitive companies, many of whom are leading the world in their respective fields. And the millions of dedicated, highly-skilled Canadians who help make Canada so competitive and enjoy unsurpassed quality of life.
In a place where creativity, excellence and achievement are commonplace, finding 2010 reasons is easy.
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Discover what makes Canada one of the best places in the world to invest, innovate, work and compete. Learn about how some of the best names in business are achieving excellence on a global scale from Canada.
2010 Reasons to do Business in Canada: Business Brochure (PDF version, 9.3 MB)
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Browse through these sector success stories and find out how Canadian innovation and creativity are being showcased on the world stage during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Vancouver (February 16, 2010) – A series of clean-tech and energy announcements during the first week of the Olympic Games in Vancouver were the opening salvo of a two-year marketing campaign to promote British Columbia as a world centre of excellence for renewable energy and environmental technology.
Clean-tech sector executives, the Independent Power Producers Association of B.C., and the BC Technology Association are part of a CleanWorks BC collaboration formed last year as a vehicle to promote British Columbia’s clean technology and services sectors – believed to be the third largest. Additional support has been provided by the province, the Vancouver Economic Development Commission and the University of B.C.
In announcing the CleanWorks BC Initiative, Premier Gordon Campbell noted
“British Columbia is growing as a global hub for clean-energy research and investment. As the world searches for cleaner ways of producing energy, these kinds of investments help position B.C. to meet that supply and, at the same time, generate new growth and jobs here in our province.”
(See GLOBE-net article “Clean Energy Investments to Power BC’s Future.”) Soon to be released research by the GLOBE Foundation notes that companies operating in British Columbia’s low-carbon economy reported revenues in excess of $18.3 billion in 2008. The province’s green economy contributes roughly 10.2 per cent of total provincial GDP and accounts for 165,690 direct and indirect full-time equivalent green jobs (2008) – equivalent to 7.2 per cent of British Columbia’s total employment.
CleanWorks representative Jonathan Rhone, president and CEO of Nexterra Energy, quoted in a Vancouver Sun article noted B.C. companies are competing in a global market for investment funds, so an over-arching identity will benefit all of them. “We realized that all of the sectors within British Columbia that are working on clean energy, whether it’s the universities or the city, or the clean-tech community or the power generators, need to collaborate on getting the message out,” Rhone said.
Three high profile clean-energy projects were announced this week including a report from venture capital firm Chrysalix Energy that its most recent energy investment fund has topped $100 million and will reach $150 million by March 31. Other projects announced were a 10-year partnership deal between energy multinational GDF Suez and Pacific BioEnergy to undertake a $24-million expansion of Pacific’s wood-pellet manufacturing plant in Prince George; and the University of British Columbia announcement of the world’s first biomass-fuelled heat and energy system using technology developed by Nexterra Systems in partnership with GE Energy.
General Electric has been a prominent sponsor of the 2010 Olympics and used the window of the first week of the celebrations to announce two clean power deals in the province. GE has joined forces with Vancouver-based Plutonic Power to build the 196-megawatt Toba Montrose hydro project and the Dokie Wind Project, near Fort St. John in northeastern B.C. Notes the Globe and Mail, GE is capitalizing on British Columbia’s plans to generate 90 per cent of its electricity from renewable power by 2016, a goal that will require massive spending on generating gear, which GE manufactures, and massive infusions of capital, which GE supplies.
Further clean energy related announcements are expected over the next two weeks as British Columbia shoots for gold with the 2010 Games and in the global marketplace for clean energy and environmental goods and services.
Better sewage treatment is the latest thing in clean energy
WHERE there’s muck, there’s brass–or so the old saying has it. The cynical may suggest this refers to the question of who gets what, but thoughtful readers may be forgiven for wondering, while they are recovering from the excesses of Christmas in the smallest room in the house, what exactly happens when they flush the toilet.
The answer is encouraging. Less and less waste, these days, is actually allowed to go to waste. Instead, it is used to generate biogas, a methane-rich mixture that can be employed for heating and for the generation of electricity. Moreover, in an age concerned with the efficient use of energy, technological improvements are squeezing human fecal matter to release every last drop of the stuff. Making biogas means doing artificially to faeces what would happen to them naturally if they were simply dumped into the environment or allowed to degrade in the open air at a traditional sewage farm–namely, arranging for them to be chewed up by bacteria. Capturing the resulting methane has a double benefit. As well as yielding energy, it also prevents what is a potent greenhouse gas from being released into the atmosphere.
Several groups are testing ways of making the process by which faeces are digested into methane more efficient. GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water, a British utility company, uses heat. Instead of running at body temperature, the firm’s process first stews the excrement at 40°C for several days. It then transfers the fermenting liquid to a tank that is five degrees cooler.
This two-tank system produces more methane than conventional methods because different strains of bacteria, which chew up different components of faeces, work better at different temperatures. The result of giving diverse groups of bugs a chance to operate in their ideal environments is, according to Mohammed Saddiq, GENeco’s boss, about 30% more methane from a given amount of excrement.
In Germany a team at the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, led by Walter Trösch, is using a different approach. Dr Trösch has reduced the amount of time it takes to digest sewage from two weeks to one, by employing a pumped mixing system. This works faster than traditional methods for two reasons. The first is that stirring the sludge causes methane to bubble to the surface faster. From the bacterial point of view, methane is just as much of a waste product as faeces are from the human viewpoint. Encouraging this poison to escape allows the bacteria to survive longer and thus produce yet more methane.
The second reason is that mixing the sludge moves bacteria away from chunks that they have been digesting and on to “fresher” material that has not had as much bacterial contact. The result is a quicker digestion of the whole. The Fraunhofer pump system, which has already been deployed in 20 sewage plants in Brazil, Germany and Portugal, needs to operate for only a few hours a day, so does not require a large amount of energy.
Sadly, that is not true of the approach used by researchers at the Tema Institute in Linkoping University, Sweden. They are developing a technique that employs ultrasound, rather than pumps, to break up the sludge. This increases methane yields by 13% but, at the moment, the process of generating the ultrasound consumes more energy than it yields.
The consequence of techniques such as these is that an ever-larger proportion of sewage is being used as a raw material for energy generation. Germans already process about 60% of their faeces this way, and the Czechs, Britons and Dutch are close behind (see chart). GENeco reckons the figure in Britain by the end of 2010 will have leapt to 75%–enough, when converted into electricity, to power 350,000 homes. And the latest thinking is to improve yields still further by cutting out the middle man. Faeces are food that has been processed by the human digestive system to extract as much useful energy as possible. An awful lot of waste food, though, never enters anyone’s mouth in the first place, and this is an even more promising source of biogas.
In America in particular numerous sewage plants have begun processing undigested food in large quantities over the course of 2009. This is the result of a collaborative policy by the country’s Environmental Protection Agency and its Department of Energy, to encourage the recycling of waste food in this way. In Britain, alas, public policy actually discourages such activity. Waste-water facilities there must pasteurise food scraps before they are processed, according to Michael Chesshire, the head of technology at BiogenGreenfinch, a company that modifies sewage digesters to use food scraps. That is a serious waste of brass.
Source: EIU.com, accessed January 6, 2009
Monday, Jan 04, 2010
It would connect turbines off the wind-lashed north coast of Scotland with Germany’s vast arrays of solar panels, and join the power of waves crashing on to the Belgian and Danish coasts with the hydro-electric dams nestled in Norway’s fjords: Europe’s first electricity grid dedicated to renewable power will become a political reality this month, as nine countries formally draw up plans to link their clean energy projects around the North Sea.
The network, made up of thousands of kilometres of highly efficient undersea cables that could cost up to €30bn (£26.5bn), would solve one of the biggest criticisms faced by renewable power – that unpredictable weather means it is unreliable.
With a renewables supergrid, electricity can be supplied across the continent from wherever the wind is blowing, the sun is shining or the waves are crashing.
Connected to Norway’s many hydro-electric power stations, it could act as a giant 30GW battery for Europe’s clean energy, storing electricity when demand is low and be a major step towards a continent-wide supergrid that could link into the vast potential of solar power farms in North Africa.
By autumn, the nine governments involved – Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland and the UK – hope to have a plan to begin building a high-voltage direct current network within the next decade. It will be an important step in achieving the European Union’s pledge that, by 2020, 20% of its energy will come from renewable sources.
“We recognise that the North Sea has huge resources, we are exploiting those in the UK quite intensively at the moment,” said the UK’s energy and climate change minister, Lord Hunt. “But there are projects where it might make sense to join up with other countries, so this comes at a very good time for us.”
More than 100GW of offshore wind projects are under development in Europe, around 10% of the EU’s electricity demand, and equivalent to about 100 large coal-fired plants. The surge in wind power means the continent’s grid needs to be adapted, according to Justin Wilkes of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). An EWEA study last year outlined where these cables might be built and this is likely to be a starting point for the discussions by the nine countries.
Renewable energy is much more decentralised and is often built in inhospitable places, far from cities. A supergrid in the North Sea would enable a secure and reliable energy supply from renewables by balancing power across the continent.
Norway’s hydro plants – equivalent to about 30 large coal-fired power stations – could use excess power to pump water uphill, ready to let it rush down again, generating electricity, when demand is high. “The benefits of an offshore supergrid are not simply to allow offshore wind farms to connect; if you have additional capacity, which you will do within these lines, it will allow power trading between countries and that improves EU competitiveness,” said Wilkes.
The European Commission has also been studying proposals for a renewable-electricity grid in the North Sea. A working group in the EC’s energy department, led by Georg Wilhelm Adamowitsch, will produce a plan by the end of 2010. He has warned that without additional transmission infrastructure, the EU will not be able to meet its ambitious targets. Hunt said the EC working group’s findings would be fed into the nine-country grid plan.
The cost of a North Sea grid has not yet been calculated, but a study by Greenpeace in 2008 put the price of building a similar grid by 2025 at €15bn-€20bn. This would provide more than 6,000km of cable around the region. The EWEA’s 2009 study suggested the costs of connecting the proposed 100GW wind farms and building interconnectors, into which further wind and wave power farms could be plugged in future, would probably push the bill closer to €30bn. The technical, planning, legal and environmental issues will be discussed at the meeting of the nine this month.
“The first thing we’re aiming for is a common vision,” said Hunt. “We will hopefully sign a memorandum of understanding in the autumn with ministers setting out what we’re trying to do and how we plan to do it.”
All those involved also have an eye on the future, said Wilkes. “The North Sea grid would be the backbone of the future European electricity supergrid,” he said. This supergrid, which has support from scientists at the commission’s Institute for Energy (IE), and political backing from both the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Gordon Brown, would link huge solar farms in southern Europe – producing electricity either through photovoltaic cells, or by concentrating the sun’s heat to boil water and drive turbines – with marine, geothermal and wind projects elsewhere on the continent. Scientists at the IE have estimated it would require the capture of just 0.3% of the light falling on the Sahara and the deserts of the Middle East to meet all Europe’s energy needs.
In this grid, electricity would be transmitted along high voltage direct current cables. These are more expensive than traditional alternating-current cables, but they lose less energy over long distances.
Hunt agreed that the European supergrid was a long-term dream, but one worth making a reality. The UK, like other countries, faced “huge challenges with our renewables targets,” he said. “The 2020 target is just the beginning and then we’ve got to aim for 2050 with a decarbonised electricity supply – so we need all the renewables we can get.”
A North Sea grid could link into grids proposed for a much larger German-led plan for renewables called the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII). This aims to provide 15% of Europe’s electricity by 2050 or earlier via power lines stretching across desert and the Mediterranean. The plan was launched last November with partners including Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, and some of Germany’s biggest engineering and power companies, including Siemens, E.ON, ABB and Deutsche Bank. DII is a $400bn (£240bn) plan to use concentrated solar power (CSP) in southern Europe and northern Africa. This technology uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays on a fluid container, the super-heated liquid then drives turbines to generate electricity. The technology itself is nothing new – CSP plants have been running in the United States for decades and Spain is building many – but the scale of the DII project would be its biggest deployment ever.
Source: The Guardian
by Peter Odell
Oil, coal and gas will continue to dominate global energy production and use in the 21st century, whether global warming activists like it or not, predicts Peter Odell. The only way realistically to reduce CO2 emissions would be through carbon capture and storage.
It is often argued that we should reduce our dependence on carbon fuels as quickly as possible, since they are assumed to be “running out”, and are blamed for global warming.
The author argues that the idea of “peak oil” or “peak gas” is a myth.
In addition, there is no way “renewables” or other forms of power, such as nuclear energy, will be able to replace carbon fuels to any significant extent for at least the rest of the century.
Thus, carbon fuels will continue to dominate the world’s energy supply for many decades. If their emissions result in global warming, which is not proved, the only solution would be to sequester the carbon underground.
Realism over the critical issues of potential energy resources in the 21st century has become a very scarce commodity. This is the result of three widely held, but highly doubtful, beliefs.
- First, that there is an inherent scarcity in the world’s endowment of carbon energy resources.
- Second, that CO2 emissions from the use of carbon fuels are causing a rapid onset of global warming.
- Third, that a set of geopolitical constraints will inevitably inhibit the production of, and trade in, energy.
Individually, each of these beliefs implies that we should reduce our dependence on carbon fuels as soon as possible. Collectively, the three concerns reinforce each other, accelerating the perceived need for a switch to the use of alternative energy sources.
In this paper, the author argues that each of these beliefs is mistaken. Not only is there no urgent need to foreswear carbon fuels in the foreseeable future, it is also very unlikely that a comprehensive switch to alternative energy sources will take place.
Peter Odell is Professor Emeritus of International Energy Studies, Erasmus University of Rotterdam.
Read the paper here
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GLOBE-Net (August 19, 2009) – Nexterra Systems Corp., a Vancouver-based supplier of biomass gasification solutions, and ANDRITZ, an Austrian market leader for customized plants, process technologies, have formed a strategic alliance to market drying solutions fuelled by renewable biomass energy from municipal wastewater treatment plants.
The combination of Nexterra gasification technologies with Andritz biosolids dryers will enable municipal wastewater treatment facilities to reduce fuel costs, eliminate dependence on fossil fuels, lower their greenhouse gas emissions and deploy a sustainable solution for biosolids management.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are more than 16,000 wastewater treatment facilities in the United States operated by municipalities, each of which produces biological sludge or “biosolids” as a residual product from the wastewater treatment process.
Traditional biosolids management methods include spreading dried sludge on lands or trucking it to landfills. Many municipalities wish to discontinue these practices due to health concerns, rising fuel and management costs, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, and diminishing landfill capacity. They are looking for biosolids management solutions that will enable them to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.
During the first phase of their strategic relationship, ANDRITZ and Nexterra will target facilities where existing biosolids dryers can be retrofitted with Nexterra’s biomass gasification technology, and will use biomass fuel to replace natural gas as a heating source. The companies plan also to offer technology solutions for greenfield sites that combine ANDRITZ biosolids dryers and Nexterra gasifiers.
“This strategic relationship with ANDRITZ provides us with a partner who has a deep understanding and presence within the wastewater treatment market, which we see as a very significant market opportunity for our gasification technology,” said Jonathan Rhone, President and CEO of Nexterra. “Our vision is to offer municipalities a seamless range of renewable energy solutions for drying biosolids, and eventually for power generation with gas engines.”
Nexterra is developing a biomass to combined heat and power solutions (CHP) with General Electric, to be sized at 2 – 10 MW, that combine Nexterra’s gasification technology and gas conditioning equipment with high efficiency gas engines. This will enable municipalities to self-generate renewable heat and power on-site.
Additional details can be found at: http://www.nexterra.ca/Andritz