Canadian Manufacturing

4 winners announced in GE’s oilsands GHG reduction challenge

GHG Ecomagination Innovation Challenge aimed at advancing efficiency, environmental performance in Alberta's oilsands



CALGARY—General Electric Co. (GE) has chosen four winners in the first phase of its $1-million challenge to advance efficiency and environmental performance in the oilsands.

GHG Ecomagination Innovation Challenge winners from India, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom will now have the opportunity to work with GE’s global research teams and other partners to further develop their proposed solutions.

“This is the sixth Ecomagination challenge, and it is proving to be an exceptional way to tap into global brains from across industry to solve operating challenges,” said Elyse Allan, President and CEO, General Electric Canada Inc. (GE Canada).

“It’s an effective way to speed up the development process by working with entrepreneurs and universities to test, scale and commercialize promising new technologies. We all learn a great deal from each other.”

The winning submissions address alternative uses for waste heat in the steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oil extraction process, ultimately reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Phase I winners are:

Naren Chidambaram, managing partner, Guha Industries (India)

Chidambaram’s work for an ammonia water heat pump could offset fossil fuel consumption for the production of steam or power instead of using low grade heat, according to GE.

Stefano Consonni, president, Consorzio LEAP (Italy)

Consonni’s team’s idea for an Opti-Up heat pump upgrades low grade heat to higher temperature heat, which can be applied for use in steam production or power generation.

Kees de Blok, engineer, Aster Thermoacoustics (Netherlands)

De Blok’s work utilizes changes in temperature from low grade heat to produce acoustic waves that can be harnessed to generate power. This, GE said, has the potential to offset fossil fuel consumption for power generation.

Ron Driver, engineer, Technical Services Ltd. (United Kingdom)

Driver’s design inspiration was a desire to save energy, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and a realization that his engine’s thermodynamic cycle was ideally suited to recovering energy from the oil sand’s low temperature heat.

“This process has helped bring some of our sector’s biggest challenges to a global audience,” Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) chief executive Dan Wicklum said about the conpetition in a statement.

“This is a great way to tap into a world of expertise and fresh perspectives. The potential environmental benefits from implementing today’s winning technologies, as well as future submissions, is very exciting.”

Representatives from COSIA member companies, as well as Alberta Innovates-Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES), served as strategic advisors for the competition.

GE also announced that the second phase of the global challenge officially opened, with a focus on finding technologies proven in other industries to enhance steam generator systems efficiency in the oilsands.

The deadline for submissions to Phase II of the Ecomagination Innovation Challenge is April 9, 2015.

To find out more, log on to the challenge website.

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