The overall purpose of Phase 1 of this study is to complete a preliminary examination of the technical and economic feasibility of generating power from recovered waste heat in the Western Canadian upstream oil and gas industry.

Specific objectives include:

  • Identify the technologies available for conversion of waste heat to electricity and produce a summary of relevant information for each technology
  • Characterize the most common waste heat sources available to gauge their potential for heat recovery and power generation
  • Complete scoping evaluations for the various waste heat sources to define the economics of projects, and to explore the sensitivity to various technical and financial variables
  • Identify the potential for economic and repeatable application of waste heat power generation technology, and recommend a route forward for Phase 2 of the work

The fossil fuel industry is an enormous consumer of energy. Vast quantities of waste heat are produced as fuel is used internally during production, processing, refining and other operations. While representing a huge potential resource, the quality of waste heat is typically low and its further utilization is often impractical. This challenge—the practical and economic utilization of a low quality but high quantity energy source—is the primary goal of waste heat power generation technologies. These technologies have a number of potential advantages:

  • Significant additional electricity generation capacity could be added
  • Electricity could be generated with no additional fuel consumption or incremental emissions of pollutants or greenhouse gases
  • Power generation offers the potential to produce a useful energy form from otherwise wasted energy, when an adequate thermal load for the waste heat is unavailable Several potential waste heat sources in upstream natural gas, oil and SAGD facilities were considered, and typical operating conditions were summarized.