The move to capture even a small portion of the vast amount of energy lost through industrial and mechanical processes will soon gain some ground in Alberta. There, plans call for the installation of a new GE system to recover gas turbine exhaust at a big natural-gas pipeline compressor station, and then use the heat from that exhaust to produce electricity without added CO2 emissions.
NRGreen Power – a 50-50 venture involving Veresen and Enbridge Income Fund Holdings – is heading up the project at Alliance Pipeline’s Windfall Compressor Station near Whitecourt, Alberta. The Whitecourt Recovered Energy Project, as it is known, is NRGreen’s fifth waste heat recovery installation, but it will be the first to use GE’s ORegen system. Construction is expected to begin when things begin to thaw in the far north, around May 2012.
The developers say ORegen, produced through GE’s ecomagination program, is the very lastest in organic Rankine cycle technology. In simple terms, this is a process in which, first, waste heat is captured and used to heat a fluid that has a much lower vaporization temperature than water. This fluid – now a hot vapor under high pressure – is then employed to spin a turbine connected to a generator, producing electricity.
The Whitecourt system will be capable of producing energy equivalent to what it would take to power 14,000 Canadian homes, the companies involved said. And the system comes with a couple of advantages: It doesn’t need water, and it doesn’t need a human to operate it, both important considerations at the remote location.
“The system is a best in class waste heat recovery technology and this project demonstrates that it is ready to be applied across the globe,” Paolo Ruggeri, head of solutions at Florence, Italy-headquartered GE Oil & Gas, said in a statement.