There is an innovative technology operating in Inter Pipeline’s (IPL) Fort McMurray district that is fueling a more sustainable approach to power.
Finding sustainable and dependable off-grid power is a challenge for large scale operations oil sands transportation system, but in an industry where the landscape is continuously evolving, the challenge is even greater. Inter Pipeline has begun a new sustainability journey on our oil sands business assets, piloting the transition from propane generators to the EFOY (Energy For You) fuel cell at one of the remote sites in their district. Last fall, IPL installed a single EFOY fuel cell unit, which has provided a number of benefits to overall operation: low maintenance; low emitting; and low cost. It’s a small step, but it has been so successful that will remain in service moving forward and will be rolled out to other locations and districts.
While this effort is new, identifying opportunities to operate more sustainably is not, says Matthew Ferguson Maintenance Planner/Scheduler, Fort McMurray & Conklin Districts:
“As an Inter Pipeline employee I am proud to work at a company that is prioritizing sustainability. When I drive past our Fort McMurray site, I feel a sense of pride knowing that ours is the one with all the solar panels.”
Lower Environmental Impact
The EFOY consumes ultra-pure methanol and in-hybrid operation, the system is designed to reduce overall methanol consumption. In comparison to the Propane-based generators that were in previous operation at the site in Fort McMurray, the EFOY will only consume approximately 1 – 2 percent fuel due to higher performance efficiency*. The system ensures that the EFOY will only use the amount of fuel required to charge the battery. By switching to the EFOY system, generating and providing power to remote sites will significantly reduce carbon emissions in comparison to power generators previously used on site*. The cell’s catalytic process produces simple by-products of water vapor and carbon in low amounts that are more environmentally friendly.
The EFOY is the optimal partner for solar panels. During the summer months, solar power is easily generated in Fort McMurray, the EFOY units did not activate, and the site was able to run 100 percent on solar and battery power. As the waste heat produced by the EFOY is captured, and there is no added heater draining battery power in winter months which preserves fuel and increases efficiency.
Safer Workplace Environment for Operations Team
Ensuring workers safety is the top priority at Inter Pipeline.
In Fort McMurray, the winter months can become dangerous with below freezing temperatures, ice covered ground and reduced visibility. With these conditions, the risk of an accident occurring increases when the functioning of the generators require the operations team to fly helicopters carrying large propane tanks to site over rivers, roads and workers frequently.
“With the EFOY, we can minimize risk for our operations team working out in the field. Directing a helicopter lifting large propane tank from the ground in the height of winter can be dangerous if the weather conditions are poor.” – Brad Bingham, Supervisor of Pipeline Field Operations in the Fort McMurray district.
Inter Pipeline prioritizes the safety and protection of the environment for our employees, customers, shareholders and the communities in which we operate.