Implement new energy efficiency projects with the help of Énergir’s Innovation Program

Oct 6, 2016 by Énergir in At work
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In a recent article titled How energy efficiency is good for business, I briefly noted that Énergir offers grants to companies to help them acquire more energy efficient equipment. I neglected to specify, however, that Énergir also offers an Innovation Program intended for all markets. Specifically, this program aims to encourage the development of new technologies or the innovative use of existing technologies with promising energy efficiency potential.

Benefits of the Innovation Program

For Énergir, this program is an exciting way to discover ground-breaking energy efficiency projects (e.g. new technologies or methodologies) that are the brain child of customers, associations, manufacturers and contractors. As a business leader or project manager, you can obtain a grant to reduce the costs of implementing an experimental or demonstration project. The financial assistance available covers up to 75% of the project costs, depending on the nature of the project; specifically, a maximum sum of $25,000 for an experimental project and up to $100,000 for a demonstration project. Important to note is that the proposed projects must involve an innovative technology or approach, or use a renewable energy as a complement to natural gas. They must also result in a more efficient consumption of natural gas.

Examples of projects

This type of program can have a profound effect, as the numerous concrete examples attest. In fact, I recently came across several success stories in Énergir’s annual reports from 2014 and 2015. Below are two examples which particularly caught my attention, and which I’d like to share with you.

Range hoods

The goal of this range hood heat-recovery project was to complete the development and trials of a variable-speed fresh-air unit for commercial kitchens. It also aimed to recover the lost energy from the hoods’ stale exhaust air. The main challenges were linked to the presence of cooking grease and oils in the air evacuated by range hoods. Until now, available energy saving solutions for commercial kitchens have not included a heat exchanger and have basically amounted to the installation of variable-speed hoods. The applicant thus proposed a fresh-air unit that included a heat exchanger equipped with a grease filter, which would enable the recovery of waste heat from commercial range hoods. The results: This project advanced the understanding on heat/air exchanger design in a greasy environment, particularly with respect to watertightness, the degreasing performed by the exhaust system and the type of core to use. The prototype trials confirmed it was possible to recover heat from hood exhausts, with an emphasis on the need to perform a simple seasonal cleaning. However, many technical and economic issues remain to be studied before the system can be marketed commercially.
So, for the short term, the variable-speed range hood remains the favoured energy efficiency solution in this market segment.

Commercial dishwashers

The aim of this project was to integrate drain water heat recovery systems into restaurant commercial dishwashers. A reading of the annual report indicates that commercial dishwashers release considerable amounts of hot water, representing a significant energy savings opportunity. However, the use of drain water heat recovery systems in restaurants poses several technological challenges (e.g. required pump systems, the lack of synchronicity between hot water release and energy demand) that can make the recovery of this energy technically or financially impossible. The main purpose of this project was therefore to demonstrate the techno-economic feasibility of and the potential savings that can be achieved with a drain water heat recovery system designed with exacting accuracy for restaurant dishwashers. The results: The project succeeded in demonstrating the system’s techno-economic feasibility. It also enabled the participants to identify areas for improvement, and the applicant has since developed a new version. This system is now available on the restaurant market and is eligible for an Énergir energy efficiency grant.

As you can see, Énergir’s Innovation Program is highly advantageous for those interested in experimenting with new technologies in their company and in reducing the financial risk associated with adopting an energy efficiency system that has not yet been tested.

Now it’s your turn to have your say. Were you aware of Énergir’s Innovation Program? Share your results with me in the comments section.

More later!