Hydro-Québec is the only electric utility in North America to have a major research centre: IREQ. The company invests a yearly average of $100 million in its innovation projects.
The IREQ team is made up of approximately 500 people: a broad range of scientists, technicians, engineers and specialists pool their expertise to support Hydro-Québec in every facet of its operations, from electricity generation to consumption. IREQ’s activities are carried out in two centres: the testing and research laboratories in Varennes and the energy technology laboratory (LTE) in Shawinigan.
Five research areas
The Institute’s work covers the five following priority fields:
- The smart grid
- Aging of materials and long-term viability of facilities
- Efficient use of electricity
- Renewable energy
- Battery materials and electric transportation
IREQ’s work leads to significant technological breakthroughs and the signing of commercial agreements and partnering arrangements.
Tomorrow’s grid will be smarter and more automated
IREQ researchers, Hydro-Québec division experts and corporate IT and telecommunications specialists are working together on the development of an increasingly smart power grid, in partnership with industry, universities, governments and other organizations.
IREQ is coordinating some 20 innovation projects in power system automation and real-time management.
IREQ’s Hypersim power system simulator and its experimental distribution line are used to test some of the new technologies for tomorrow’s smart grid.
Recovery of industrial heat waste
Industrial heat waste contains significant but underutilized energy potential. LTE is working with Université de Sherbrooke’s Chair in Industrial Efficiency, as well as with other laboratories and industry players.
Battery research with numerous applications
For both high-power and high-energy batteries, projects under way deal with the physical components (powders and solvents) of batteries for various applications: personal and mass transportation, cranes for jobsites and container handling, mass storage for power systems or other needs, home and community power supply, etc.