Examples of sustainability-related innovation projects – 2017

Examples of sustainability-related innovation projects – 2017
Category Achievement or work in progress Investment ($’000)
Energy performance – customers and equipment
  • Water electrolysis to produce synthetic fuels from municipal waste

    This project conducted by IREQ’s energy technology laboratory (LTE) involves evaluating the possibility of incorporating water electrolysis into a process to produce synthetic fuels from municipal solid waste.

    In 2017, LTE performed a methods and cost analysis on integrating water electrolysis with an Enerkem technology in order to manufacture advanced biofuels and green chemicals from waste. The results show that the harmonized integration of the two technologies could double the expected yield while maintaining the cost-effectiveness of the waste recovery.
Renewable energy technologies and grid connection
  • Managing residential power demand

    The goal of the project is to elicit the participation of residential customers in reducing power demand in order to limit demand during the winter.

    As part of the project, we targeted demand from electric baseboard heating and installed communicating thermostats for baseboards in the homes of 30 employees. Temperature settings on these thermostats were adjusted based on typical demand response measures taken during cold snaps. This allowed us to observe the effects on power demand and occupants’ comfort. In addition, various scenarios were simulated to estimate the potential impact of these devices on the system load profile.
  • Tribology/Environment project

    The Tribology/Environment project focuses on environmentally friendly lubricating solutions for the mechanical components of generating equipment. In order to make a more informed choice of self-lubricating materials and green lubricants, we’re testing their performance under actual operating conditions. Adopting these types of products will allow us to greatly reduce the risks of damage to the environment caused by accidental leaks of lubricants.

    In 2017, we designed a new test bench to assess materials for self-lubricating bearings, which simulates operating conditions such as harsh winter temperatures, hot and humid summer temperatures and immersion in water.
Asset sustainment and service continuity
  • SiGran project

    The latest version of the National Building Code requires that soil liquefaction potential be analyzed during geotechnical investigations. Soil liquefaction is the phenomenon of instability or loss of strength that occurs as a result of an earthquake, often in saturated granular soils. The occurrence of soil liquefaction is currently evaluated using a simplified process based on generic seismicity and geology conditions that are different from those found in eastern North America.

    The SiGran project involves the creation of a new method to study the liquefaction potential of soils in the geological and seismic context of eastern North America. The project has a virtual and an experimental component. In the virtual component, we’re attempting to understand the liquefaction phenomenon at the particle and pore level, and design effective mitigation measures when a prognosis of liquefaction has been established. In the experimental component, we use the TxSS, a seismic simulator apparatus designed to study liquefaction, to define the dynamic characteristics of soils and examine their relation to soil liquefaction. It can also be applied to examine the effectiveness of the conventional method, its limits and its relevance to seismic conditions in Québec.

    Using the TxSS, we were able to establish a prognosis of non-liquefaction for the soils underlying the foundations of five transmission substations, contrary to the previously established prognosis of liquefaction. These new results allowed us to abandon work such as the installation of piles to straighten and stabilize foundations, and thus reduce costs and GHG emissions.