Every day Canada’s Alliance Pipeline scoops 1.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas from British Columbia and Alberta and hauls it 2,300 miles south to American consumers in Chicago. Along the way there are 14 compressor stations powered by giant GE turbines that pump up the pressure in the pipeline and goose the gas along. But the compressors also shed a lot of heat on the cold Canadian prairie, which is a waste.
Last fall, GE Energy teamed up with NRGreen Power, an innovative Canadian power company, and brought to Alberta a new technology called ORegen. ORegen, which is ecomagination-certified, traps waste heat generated by big industrial machines and turns it into electricity. The system does not require fuel or water, and spews no emissions. The net gain is 14 megawatts of electricity out of hot air. That’s enough to power 14,000 Canadian homes.
If you pair ORegen with a conventional power station, it will boost the plant’s efficiency by 20 to 35 percent and deliver 40 percent more electricity with no additional fuel consumption. GE Energy built a website that shows how the system works. Take a look.