What Can Be Done Today to Decarbonize Industries?
Reducing scope 2 emissions through Terrapin's waste heat to power projects and Exergy's innovative technology is a lucrative tactic to deliver on ESG mandates.
Terrapin • April 29, 2021
4 minute read
Under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a joint effort by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), GHG emissions are categorized into three groups or “scopes”. Scope 1 includes direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 includes indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heat, and cooling consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain, such as business travel, transportation and distribution (upstream and downstream), and purchased goods and services.
For many industrial companies, indirect sources represent a significant proportion of overall facility or corporate emissions. With the right project developers, market conditions, and technology, these companies can reduce their indirect emissions in an economical way through waste heat recovery.
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Waste heat recovery is no longer a term that is solely relevant for technical teams. In a decarbonizing world, being able reduce one’s emissions-intensity by converting wasted heat into a useable energy source speaks to not only energy efficiencies, but also innovations, improved stakeholder relations, and an ESG story that sets companies apart.
Adapted from GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance, 2015.
A large and under-utilized source of waste heat lies in the temperature ranges of 120°C to 500°C (or 248°F to 932°F). These low-temperature waste heat sources include (but are not exclusively) flue gas from gas turbine drivers, high pressure steam, and cooling infrastructure. These sources are most commonly found in natural gas, heavy manufacturing, and chemical processing facilities, positioning these sectors to be leaders in scope 2 emission reductions and the waste heat to power space.
Terrapin team members investigating a natural gas compressor station site in Alberta.
(Photo: Terrapin Geothermics)
Terrapin specializes in developing clean energy projects from these low-temperature waste heat resources. Terrapin evaluates these resources primarily on temperature, flowrate, and uptime. Upon identifying these key metrics of the waste heat source, Terrapin assesses the economic value of the potential waste heat to power project. If it does not generate economic value for the client, Terrapin does not pursue it. If it does, Terrapin continues with the pilot project development and explores opportunities for duplication across the client’s portfolio of assets.
Our flexible business model provides financing options and best-in-class technology to help clients thrive in a rapidly decarbonizing world. Through our third-party capital pathway, we own and operate the waste heat to power projects, paying our industrial clients for access to their waste heat. From origination to completion, we work closely with our clients to ensure that we are reducing their emissions-intensity in the safest, most effective, and most profitable way possible. This includes sourcing the best-in-class waste heat to power technology to meet our client’s needs. In Western Canada, we have exclusive rights to develop projects using Exergy International’s Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology – an innovative technology that uses a radial outflow turbine to effectively capture and convert waste heat into emission-free and baseload electricity.
Exergy's Organic Rankine Cycle system at an Exergy power plant.
(Photo: Exergy International)
Exergy’s ORC technology transfers the thermal energy from the waste heat source to its working fluid through a heat exchanger, which is then evaporated to turn a turbine generator to produce electricity. Air cooled condensers then return the fluid to liquid state, eliminating the need for costly water cooling. The resulting power can be used on-site to reduce clients’ dependence on grid energy, or sold back to the grid, generating revenue from the sale of power. Any environmental attributes generated by the project can be retired to comply with the client’s ESG mandates or sold to a third party for additional revenue. This technology is modular and takes up less surface area than other renewable energy production for the same output, reducing its environmental footprint even further and allowing for easily replicable projects.
Together, our heat to value solutions provide industrial clients with a turnkey way to convert their vision of net-zero into reality.
A closer look at Exergy's Organic Rankine Cycle system.
(Photo: Exergy International)
Waste heat recovery is not new. But the market conditions, emissions standards, and maturation of ORC technology have made reducing scope 2 emissions through innovative waste heat to power projects a strategic ESG win. With companies across the globe declaring net-zero carbon commitments in the coming decades, and more renewable energy projects coming online, one question still lingers: what is being done today on existing assets to enable a revenue-positive energy transition?
Terrapin believes that waste heat to power is the key.