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New heating system is in the works

Christine Kay
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Aug 26/02) - The Nunavut Power Corporation is trying to make up for lost heat -- and do its part for the environment.

"We have been working towards this for the last three years," said NPC area superintendent Mac Maidens, referring to waste-heat recovery systems.

They work like the exhaust system in a car, but instead of releasing the hot gases into the environment, they recovers the heat first.

When fuel and air burn in an engine, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides are expelled. In a car, they find their way out through a tail pipe.

The engines at NPC power plants have these same exhaust gases that must be discharged. But by adding a heat exchanger or boiler, NPC can absorb the heat in this discharged gas and distribute it through pipelines.

The first such system in Nunavut will be used for Iqaluit's new hospital, and it's almost operational.

"Our design is done. We could probably have it ready to go within a year, but we're missing our anchor customer -- the hospital," Maidens said.

Until the hospital is complete, the power corporation will recover heat by using another system called jacket water heat.

It works in a similar way to exhaust-gas recovery except it recovers heat from the cooling system in an engine. Jacket water heat is used by the NPC building itself. It is also being used in Panniqtuuq to heat two schools.

"We believe those two schools are saving about 160,000 litres of fuel a year," said NPC project engineer Lee Douglas.

By saving this much fuel, Douglas estimates the schools can avoid sending 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, into the atmosphere.