Cleantech companies win up to $250K in COSIA-ARCTIC waste heat challenge

Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

AMSEnergy Corp. and Heat Matrix Group BV are the initial-stage winners of the Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) and Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre challenge, aimed at reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) and increasing energy efficiency by identifying cleantech solutions for capturing heat lost during SAGD production.

Selected from a pool of global innovators that submitted solutions to the COSIA-ARCTIC Waste Heat Challenge, the two winners announced this week will receive funding to develop their solutions over the next six months, as well as in-kind contributions such as laboratory space, marketing support, equipment and materials, as well as mentoring.

“That [$250,000] is combined between the two, which is part of the six-month process we’re going through to prove out, verify and validate the technology and its capability to do what they say it can do,” says Foresight managing director Neil Huff.

“What happens after that is that a winner gets chosen, and they will move forward into a field-trial phase, where one or more of the COSIA member companies will work with them to prove their technology in the field and show exactly how it works in the field, and there will be further money awarded to the winner of the sprint phase.”

Following this stage of the challenge, one company will be selected to receive additional funding and invited to field test its technology in Western Canada. The winner will be announced in early 2017.

The COSIA-ARCTIC Waste Heat Challenge is the first in a series of Advanced Resource Clean Technology Innovation Centre (ARCTIC)-sponsored challenges.

ARCTIC was looking for companies that could handle either the high-grade heat that comes out of stacks and boilers at about 200 C, or the lower-grade heat that comes out of the glycol group at temperatures of around 60 to 80 C. AMSEnergy and Heat Matrix both aim to tackle the higher-grade lost heat.

AMSEnergy uses thermosyphon heat pipe technology, which is different than a conventional heat exchanger in that it has working fluid to do the work, he noted. At the hot end of the heat exchanger it vapourizes the working fluid and captures that heat evapourization.

Next, Huff added, it moves to the cold end of the heat exchanger, condenses and gives up that heat evapourization. It goes back and repeats the cycle — an extremely-efficient way to capture high-grade heat, recycle it and use it to preheat incoming air for boilers.

“It is going to eliminate the current air glycol pre-heaters they have that uses energy.”

Heat Matrix uses a technology called LUVO, which incorporates polymer material. I

"It is corrosive and fouling resistant, which is pretty important when you are dealing with flue gases at 200 C and with 68-per-cent CO2 in the air, and some water vapour as well, which makes it highly acidic and corrosive," Huff says.

“The whole idea would be to take the flue gases, put them through that heat exchanger, and then use that captured heat to heat up the pre-combustion air for the boilers, which [Heat Matrix] currently does in other ways, and utilizes energy to do that. That is what the Heat Matrix technology is.”

He adds that in addition to environmental benefits, the technologies could create local jobs in manufacturing, building capacity and the need for locally-sourced equipment and services.