City of Iqaluit seeks $2M from feds to power new pool with waste heat

The new aquatic centre in Iqaluit could soon tap into excess heat that comes off Qulliq Energy Corp.'s electricity-generating engines to heat both its pool and building.

Using the heat byproduct from the Qulliq power plant could reduce cost and CO2 emissions

Iqaluit's new aquatic centre could be powered by waste heat from the Iqaluit power plant. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

The new aquatic centre in Iqaluit could one day tap into the excess heat that comes off Qulliq Energy Corp.'s electricity-generating engines to heat both its pool and building.

The City has applied for funding from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to make the switch from its current system of oil-powered boilers. In the long run, it could be a more cost-effective option.

However, the upfront cost meant that the system was not in place for the centre's opening last month.

Residual heat in original design plan

While the residual heat system was part of the original design plan, the City is waiting on funding before installing the mechanism in the building that would transfer the waste heat into the building's internal system.
Bruno Pereira says the project will help develop residual heat distribution as an alternative stream of revenue for Qulliq Energy Corp. (Jordan Konek/CBC)

The City has applied for $2 million, which a spokesperson said in an email should cover most of the project costs.

QEC president and CEO Bruno Pereira says the project is costly because pipes would need to be run underground to connect the pool to the existing city grid. 

Pereira says this method of residual heating has been used in Iqaluit for 17 years with customers including Nunavut Arctic College.

Lower carbon footprint

He explains that the engines at the power plant are much like large car engines.

"If a car engine is running for a while it generates heat, so what we do is we tap into that heat, we transfer it into a glycol-water solution." 
In the future, Qulliq Energy hopes to collect heat from their diesel generators' exhaust, as well as their cooling systems, and distribute it in Iqaluit. (Travis Burke/CBC)

Fluid meant to cool the engine is run through channels in the engine frame and as it travels it collects heat, which is then pumped through pipes to customers. 

Since the heat is a byproduct of power generation, harnessing it is also a way for the city to reduce its overall carbon dioxide emissions.

Infrastructure benefits for residents

While QEC is currently focusing on building pipes out to large clients like the aquatic centre, Pereira's hope is that others will be able to tap into the infrastructure once it exists.

Because QEC depends on the summer sealift to bring in construction materials, the timing of the federal government's response will determine whether the centre is connected by the end of this year or early next year. 

The City expects a funding decision sometime after the federal government starts its new fiscal year on April 1.


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