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    KINGSTON, Ontario, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Canada's largest aluminum producer, Alcan Aluminium Limited (NYSE: AL), and the Ontario Ministry of Energy today announced an agreement to co-fund a demonstration project using aluminum-based heat exchangers to generate electricity from waste heat recaptured from water used in cooling processes. Ontario Hydro will also participate in the project.
    "Today's industrial environment puts great emphasis on recapturing waste heat from energy-intensive industries such as electrical utilities, petroleum refining, or production of chemicals, cement, glass, pulp and paper, or primary metals," said Dr. Jeff Edington, president of Alcan International Limited, the research and technology arm of the Alcan group.
    "Waste heat represents a buried source of electricity -- all we need is a way to extract this energy and convert it into a useful form. Alcan is developing a technology for this market.  If we installed this technology in all appropriate power and industrial locations in Canada, the potential energy recovery would exceed 3,000 megawatts of electricity distributed over more than 300 sites -- enough to supply about a million homes with electricity."
    Edington said that Alcan's heat exchanger technology represents incremental electricity with no incremental fuel cost.  This technology conserves fossil fuels and is environmentally friendly (non-polluting). In industrial situations, the heat exchanger technology permits on-site generation of power, which reduces demand for electricity from the grid.
    Under the Ontario government's EnerSearch program, Alcan will test a new heat exchanger which Project Leader Dr. Nigel Fitzpatrick describes as "practical, modest in cost, relatively simple in construction, and based on well-established thermodynamic processes and proven materials." The effectiveness of the heat exchanger lies in two of aluminum's most appealing properties -- non-corrosion and efficient heat conductivity.
    Immersed in water outflows, the aluminum heat exchangers use waste heat drawn out of the water to vaporize a working fluid (ammonia) which then drives a turbine to create electricity.  When circulated through another aluminum heat exchanger immersed in the much cooler water inflow, the ammonia vapor condenses back into a liquid and is then recycled back through the system.  Power is generated from heat by the Rankine cycle.  Fitzpatrick said that the key conditions for successful operation of the heat exchanger technology are a temperature difference between incoming and outgoing water streams of at least 20 degrees Celsius, and continuous flow of the streams.
    The Alcan-Ministry of Energy demonstration program has two phases. In a six-month Phase One, Alcan will carry out an assessment of the low- cost heat exchanger application as well as developing and completing the specific design tasks associated with a one-megawatt demonstration system. (One megawatt of power is sufficient to power approximately 300 Ontario homes).  The specific design will be associated with waste heat recovery from lake water used to cool a Pickering reactor moderator system.
    Upon successful completion of Phase One, a one-megawatt demonstration system could be installed at Ontario Hydro's Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.  The demonstration would allow the project partners to assess the potential savings in primary energy consumption from power stations and industrial processes.  Initial estimates suggest that, for power stations, the new technology could mean a 5 to 10 percent increase in electricity generated without any additional fuel cost.
    "In addition to serving North American customers, there is a large market for these heat exchangers in other developed countries.  This technology represents significant export potential for the Ontario economy," said Edington.
    The aluminum alloy used to fabricate the heat exchanger can be produced at low cost; the "printed-circuit" type panel heat exchanger is already manufactured at an Alcan subsidiary, Algoods, in Toronto. Algoods uses a friction bonding procedure called Roll-Bond to produce heat exchangers for the refrigeration industry.  It is one of only two plants in the world with the capability and know-how to carry out this process continuously.
    Alcan's Kingston Research and Development Centre has been active in heat exchanger technology for many years and will continue to support the technology through the demonstration phase.  "Once we've successfully demonstrated the technology at Pickering, we expect to be able to commercialize it quickly -- possibly in 1993," said Edington. "We already have the core manufacturing facilities and skill right here in Ontario."
    The Ministry of Energy EnerSearch program is contributing up to $500,000 of the total estimated $2.5 million cost of the demonstration project.
    For more information:
    Dr. Nigel Fitzpatrick                       Jacques Dubuc
    Technical Director, Energy Products         Manager
    Alcan Aluminium Limited                     Media Relations and
    Kingston Research and Development Centre    Public Affairs
    Kingston, Ontario                           Alcan Aluminium
                                                Maison Alcan
                                                Montreal, Quebec
    Phone: 613-541-2199                         Phone: 514-848-8114
    Fax:   613-541-2285                         Fax:   514-848-8587
    -0-                       1/21/92
   /CONTACT:  Jacques Dubuc of Alcan Aluminium Limited, 514-848-8114/
    (AL) CO:  Alcan Aluminium Limited ST:  Ontario IN:  MNG SU: FC -- NY066 -- 1821 01/21/92 12:14 EST
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 21, 1992

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