OVERVIEW I'm tickled pink with them. The GlobalSolarHybrid systems have cut the fuel expense by more than half... It's low-maintenance. Really, I should say no-maintenance. Mary King, fisheries habitat research biologist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game SITUATION The Kenai River Drainage, south of Anchorage, Alaska, is a proverbial big fish in the minds of anglers the world over. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is serious about protecting its salmon fisheries, one of the state's most valued natural resources. Currently, the department is conducting a study of Slikok Creek, a tributary of the Kenai, to determine spawning and rearing habitats of Coho and Chinook salmon, the state fish that's known as the "king salmon" in the Land of the Midnight Sun. THE CHALLENGE The department has set up sites along Slikok Creek with in-stream, pass-through antennae and electronic transceivers, which record the travels of adult and juvenile salmon tagged with transponders. Clearly, remote power is a critical ingredient to the department's research in this far-flung region of untamed wilderness and potentially bitter temperatures. "When I'm running a project like this year-round," says Mary King, a fisheries habitat research biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, "the last thing I need to be doing is troubleshooting problems during an Alaskan winter." GLOBAL SOLUTION In June 2008, Global Thermoelectric began supplying three sites along Slikok Creek with GlobalSolarHybrid remote power systems, which combine Global's superior Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) technology with solar panels and photovoltaic PV batteries to offer a greener solution with greater reliability. During periods of below-average insolation values, a sensor mechanism turns on the propane-fuelled Model 5060 TEG, which provides power and recharges the batteries until they are again able to take over operation of the transceivers. RESULTS The salmon research operation has been going very well, thanks to Global's steady supply of remote power. "I'm tickled pink with them," says King. "The GlobalSolarHybrid systems have cut the fuel expense by more than half. I would say that by the time I complete this two-year project, the equipment will have paid for itself, and then we can go forth to other projects, with the only cost being about $1,000 a year in propane." Because of Alaska's long days of summer sunlight, "the TEGs are basically non-operational come April, but the switch back and forth to back up the battery has been smooth," says King. "It's low-maintenance. Really, I should say no-maintenance."
Apache Noel Project
Overview The TEGs work really well, I'm very impressed. I check them every year and as long as we maintain them I'm sure they'll last forever – or at least for the life of the well, which is 30-40 years. Roland Giroux, Maintenance Electrician, Apache The Situation The Noel well site in British Columbia was designed and managed by a large oil and gas company before it came under Apache's ownership in 2010. The site was significant as it represented the first new green field gas development in Canada in many years. It was innovative in that it applied a solar photovoltaic (PV) system for its well sites. Traditional well site design uses high-pressure gas from the wellhead for emergency shutdown valves, pressure control valves and chemical injection pumps. In this case, solar electricity would be generated on site and stored in batteries providing a permanent energy supply. Roland Giroux is very familiar with the system as he was the maintenance electrician for the company's sub-stations when gas first pumped out of Node 3 in 2009. He maintains this role today with Apache. He said the company's commitment to maintaining a zero emissions site was one aspect that attracted him to Apache for employment. The Challenge CH2M Hill was the engineering firm chosen to lead the project. They were in support of the zero emission goal but didn't want to sacrifice reliability of mission critical equipment by using photovoltaic systems exclusively. They knew a pure photovoltaic system created risk of power interruption during the winter months when shorter daylight hours, dense cloud, shadowed terrain and snow cover interfered with battery charging. They approached Global Thermoelectric for a solution that involved integrating thermoelectric generators into the system creating solar hybrids. Global's Solution The Noel project had 140 wells, three compressor stations, 260 kilometres of pipeline and a 138 kV power line. To maintain the integrity of the environmental goals, Global Thermoelectric supplied 31, model 5220 thermoelectric generators (TEGs) and long life AGM batteries. Based on Global's design recommendations, CH2M Hill procured the supply of BP140 watt solar panels. Controllers in the GlobalSolarHybrids were custom designed to monitor the battery bank's state of charge and automatically turn generators on when battery levels drained below a set point. As long as the battery system stayed above that level, and the PV array delivered enough energy to the load, the generators would remain off. When operational, the generators would deliver enough energy to keep the load fed and recharge the PV battery bank. Global's hybrid system is pre-engineered and pre-integrated to provide robust performance by optimizing PV absorption while ensuring that the TEG waiting in standby mode is ready to turn on and provide full power when necessary, especially during the cold and snow laden winter months. This configuration not only achieves significant fuel savings but also a bulletproof 24-7 remote power generation system. When asked about the system today Roland Giroux says, "The TEGs work really well, I'm very impressed. I check them every year and as long as we maintain them I'm sure they'll last forever – or at least for the life of the well, which is 30-40 years." Bruce Arneson, Manager of Instrumentation and Controls at CH2M Hill was directly involved in the decision making process for the GlobalSolarHybrids onsite and commonly recommends these products for pipeline projects. He said, "Our clients are focusing on minimal impact to the environment. Obviously, solar has zero impact but it's not practical to go with a solar-only solution in some regions, particularly the north. The marriage of the two technologies minimizes the impact on the environment and maintains a reliable power source for critical equipment." Results Apache still maintains the environmental, social and financial benefits from the design of this innovative well site today. Had the project team employed a traditional well site design, it could have resulted in the use of 10,000 E3m3 of natural gas, which is equivalent to 132 kT of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The Noel design has the impact equivalent of removing 24,000 cars from the road each year. This project has been recognized by environmental awards and written about positively in the media for its innovative approach. Global Thermoelectric's generators played a role in this environmentally significant project and for that, the company and employees involved in Noel project, are very proud.
Overview After reviewing all the options we knew Global's cycle chargers were the only way to go. The company had experience with the products and proved to be extremely supportive working with us to bring the new systems online. Kendall Anderson, Telecommunications Engineering Technologist, Transmission and Distribution Engineering ATCO Electric The Situation ATCO Electric serves more than 182,000 customers in Alberta, Canada. For the past 80 years the company has built, operated and maintained a vast system of transmission and distribution lines to deliver power to homes, communities and businesses. The consistent and efficient operation of its system is critical to the company's success. The communication towers used for transmission control are often located in remote areas without access to grid power. For these, ATCO uses a variety of continuous power systems, including reciprocating gensets and Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs). The addition of two towers to ATCO's system in 2006 gave the company the opportunity to review its power choices for remote prime power. Their options included running grid power to the site, using TEGs, genset systems or try something new. The Challenge The challenge was to find a continuous power system for 1150 Watt and 2150 Watt requirements that would be reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sensitive. There was a strong preference for a propane-fuelled system. Global Thermoelectric was asked to provide a remote power solution that would meet these criteria and be easily integrated into ATCO's existing system. Additionally, the solution would need to comply with federal regulations and be easily maintained by ATCO staff. Global's Solution Global recommended an integrated cycle charging system, a customized version of their GlobalCharge product, at each tower. GlobalCharge, is an intelligently controlled system that integrates high quality industrial generators with a station battery so that charging and discharging is optimized. The solution would extend the life of the batteries and ensure the full 10-year warranty life. This solution was considered the most efficient option due to a low duty cycle on the prime generators. GlobalCharge systems are able to 'load follow' meaning they automatically adjust to the power required. They are also less expensive and lower maintenance than gensets. In this case, refueling and maintenance would be required only once a year. Finally, Global's solution was propane-fuelled, eliminating the need for on-site diesel storage and the risk of soil contamination. This met with ATCO's environmental objectives. Timing The systems were delivered to ATCO within 16 weeks of the order. Results The installation was considered a success as the GlobalCharge systems were operating prior to tower erection. ATCO was grateful to Global for their responsiveness and help overcoming regulatory hurdles. And as a service to ATCO, Global offered to remotely monitor the sites for a period of time to ensure the system is operating properly. This will ensure warranty compliance on the batteries.
Overview They're extremely reliable. I have no complaints about them at all. If there's something wrong with (a remote monitoring station), we don't worry about whether the TEG is working. We know that they work." Steve Anglea, Biomark's project sales manager The Situation Biomark Inc., based in Boise, Idaho, is a key player in the North American fish and wildlife conservation community and a worldwide leader in radio frequency identification (RFID). The company specializes in Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) technology, which it uses primarily to help its clients monitor and ultimately boost fish populations across the continent. Biomark's clients include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Challenge Biomark uses transceiver-powered antennae to monitor PIT tags implanted in fish as they move throughout river drainages. Many of these locations, at the headwaters of river systems, are off the grid and largely inaccessible, making remote power critical to the success of these conservation projects. Biomark had attempted to use solar power at distant locations, with limited success. Below-average insolation (exposure to the sun), above-average snow pack and constant battery maintenance hampered a great many remote monitoring stations. "Solar power is relatively expensive, and can be inconsistent in mountainous or treed areas," remarks Steve Anglea, Biomark's project sales manager. "We were looking for a relatively low-cost, efficient way to provide that power with a small footprint." Global's Solution In the fall of 2005, Biomark turned to Global Thermoelectric for solution. Global answered the bell with its renowned Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) technology – a field-tested, easily deployed solution with a price tag half the size of its solar rival. To date, Biomark has used TEGs Model 5060 and 5120, as well as GlobalSolarHybrid systems that combine TEGs with photovoltaic panels to offer a greener solution with greater reliability. In fact, Global's propane-fuelled remote power systems have actually helped Biomark's clients intensify their conservation research. "With the advancement in TEG technology, we can look at survival from when the fish leaves its natal stream to the point when it returns four, five or six years later," says Anglea. "It isn't just the spawning, it's the entire life stages – which is a vast improvement." Finally, Global's solution was propane-fuelled, eliminating the need for on-site diesel storage and the risk of soil contamination. This met with ATCO's environmental objectives. Timing Biomark orders its Global remote power systems about a month in advance of the installation date of its monitoring stations. Installation is quick and easy, with assembly completed in about an hour. "I have no complaints about them at all," says Anglea. "They're pretty slick little units. We're certainly recommending them." Results In less than four years, Global has been able to eliminate 99 per cent of Biomark's power problems with its bulletproof remote solutions. In all, 15 Global remote power systems are in service from Alaska to Louisiana, and throughout the U.S. Rocky Mountains. "They're extremely reliable," says Anglea. "If there's something wrong with (a remote monitoring station), we don't worry about whether the TEG is working. We know that they work."
Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Overview Since we went with the TEGs, they haven't shut down and they haven't needed any maintenance on them at all – exactly the way we want it to be. Loyd Wheating, mine efficiency specialist for Canadian Natural Resources Limited The Situation Canadian Natural, a senior independent oil and gas exploration and production company, needed a reliable source of power for a radio communication network at its new mine site at the Horizon Oil Sands Project, 80 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Canadian Natural's plans called for the placement of four radios at mobile access points in the mine, forming a wireless network that would allow its dispatch office to track production data and communicate with mining equipment and vehicles. The Challenge Canadian Natural's wireless network was established in the fall of 2008, but the original source of power – light-duty plant generators and other small diesel gensets – didn't fit the bill. Besides the constant maintenance issues, an inverter, charger and batteries were required to convert the diesel generators' 110 volts of alternating current (AC) to the radios' 12V direct-current (DC) system. It was a far cry from what Canadian Natural truly needed – a low-ripple, stable-output power source. "The generators didn't work very well," recalls Loyd Wheating, a mine efficiency specialist in Canadian Natural's technology development department. "Maintenance was also a problem; they had to be refilled every second day. It was manpower, it was fuel – all those costs." Global's Solution Canadian Natural turned to Global Thermoelectric for its quiet, robust Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs), which are renowned for their long-term, bulletproof operation in remote locations. Four Model 5120 TEGs now supply clean, uninterrupted, low-ripple DC power to Canadian Natural's wireless network in the mine, with a fifth to be deployed at a later date. The TEGs are supplied by 1,000-gallon portable propane tanks, which can last 10 months on one fill. Timing Installation of the Global TEGs was simple and straightforward, with the first unit set up in January 2009 and the rest in March 2009. "We haven't been back to them since we started them up," says Wheating. Results Global has installed more than 20,000 remote power systems in 50 countries around the world, and has an extremely satisfied customer back at home in Canadian Natural. "Oh, yeah," says Wheating. "Since we went with the TEGs, they haven't shut down and they haven't needed any maintenance on them at all – exactly the way we want it to be."
Grant County Education Service District (ESD)
Overview Global Themoelectric's technology allows Grant County, and specifically their students, to actively engage and connect to the world around them without interruption. The Situation Grant County is located in a remote part of Oregon surrounded by mountains and desert-like land. The Education Service District (or ESD) in the area is responsible for helping the State provide equitable education and successful learning environments to students. The County hosts five school districts with several elementary and high schools in each. To fulfill their mission, and to comply with State requirements for online testing, the ESD invested in technology that would put the region online. The ESD purchased a T1 line but soon realized the high monthly cost to connect each school separately was prohibitive. Instead, they installed a repeater station on a nearby mountain leveraging a microwave spectrum to serve modems and provide connectivity. The Challenge The District searched for a way to power the mountain top station - one that would require little maintenance as servicing the 6,000 foot snow-covered location was an exhausting exercise. They began with a solar panel and battery combination, which worked well in the summer but failed in the winter months when cloudy skies and strong winds interrupted service. Global Thermoelectric was asked to develop a remote power solution that was both low maintenance and reliable. Global's Solution Global supplied Grant County with a low-maintenance Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) to support the solar and battery-powered systems. The TEG was appropriate for the mountain-top location primarily because it had no moving parts and worked well in extreme cold. The District was initially surprised by the success of the TEG and it soon became the primary source for power. With the demand for services through the Internet increasing, the District bought a second TEG to support the first. The additional power added stability to the entire system and allowed the District to apply heat to the inside of the repeater station protecting additional electrical equipment at risk during sub-zero temperatures. Results A reliable, low maintenance power supply allowing Internet access for the remotelylocated school district. Global's TEGs are now the primary source of power for the microwave system and operate 24 hours a day, 7-days a week using the solar and battery power as additional sources of energy. Their presence is considered invaluable to the people of Grant County. Internet access enables teachers to access new training online, students to take required tests and offers unique learning opportunities like Spanish classes via video conferencing units. This system has also been used by the Oregon State Department of Administrative Services to hold video-conferences and public forums that are difficult to co-ordinate due to the remoteness of the County. Global Themoelectric's technology allows Grant County, and specifically their students, to actively engage and connect to the world around them without interruption.
Overview In Global Thermoelectric we have found a partner whose product gives us the ability to function perfectly in these tough conditions. Brock Lounsbury General Manager JRTWave www.jrtwave.com The Situation JRTWave (JRT) is a leader in wireless Internet connections for rural communities and industry located in rugged parts of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. To deliver service, the company developed an elegant repeater network that wound through, and sometimes over, the Rocky Mountains. By providing Internet and voice-over IP services to small towns, farms and coal mines, JRT connected people and fostered new opportunities for its customers. JRT was the first company to offer these services and had a definitive advantage over its competition. Their quick to market strategy helped them capture the largest share of customers as individual and corporate subscribers. The Challenge JRT recognized the reliability of their network would be a big part of their continued success. In the initial stages they relied on skilled radio placement, signal power and their ability to predict and respond quickly to their growing subscriber base. They quickly found that a given service area could double in traffic as word of their Internet connection services spread. Initially, JRT believed solar power would be sufficient to operate their network but harsh winter conditions proved otherwise. The solar-powered network endured challenges related to the high mountain passes and the extreme weather conditions associated with the Rocky, Kootenay and Purcell ranges. Several nodes of the system went down just before the holidays in 2005. As JRT's future depended on its reputation of providing reliable Internet service, a solution had to be found fast! Global Thermoelectric was asked to design a reliable remote power solution for the network – one that would withstand harsh mountainous environment. Global's Solution JRT had experience with Global's Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs) on larger telecom sites and contacted the company as soon as solar charging problems began. Although the small repeaters didn't require a lot of power, the traffic levels were increasing and could grow exponentially. Global chose a larger TEG (model 5060) to support the anticipated capacity and because it had the fastest lead-time. "Ice fog, dense cloud and heavy snow are the enemy of high elevation solar panels. The addition of a dependable parallel power generation system was paramount," says Brock Lounsbury, General Manager of JRTWave. "In Global Thermoelectric we have found a partner whose product gives us the ability to function perfectly in these tough conditions." Timing Global's relationships with suppliers allowed it to redirect five 5060 units to JRT and replace them a week later with new units. So, less than a week after JRT arrived at Global's Calgary headquarters with a request, TEGs were sent to support its system. The TEGs and propane tanks were snow-catted up the mountains and within days JRT's customers were back online. JRT was extremely grateful for the quick turn around. Results Since the installation of the TEGs, the network has been operating problem-free. JRT's continued success and expansion will ensure that small and remote communities can continue to have a presence and a connection to the world around them.
Overview Until recently, we haven't really needed anything in the way of sales and service, because (the TEGs) just keep going. The generators have worked really well. Wayne Soll, engineer at Missoula's KECI-TV The Situation Montana is known as Big Sky Country, but if KECI-TV in Missoula doesn't get its broadcast signal across that sky and over the Continental Divide to an antenna tower in Butte about 100 miles away, it means NBC's three western Montana television affiliates suddenly fade to black. And the lynchpin of the entire operation? An isolated relay point at the top of a 9,800-foot mountain, accessible only after a 3?-hour drive on roads and another 2? hours on a treacherous, steep, switch back-heavy trail. "It's the only way for three stations – KCFW in Kalispell, KTVM in Butte and Bozeman, and KECI here in Missoula – to get our signals out to the rest of the NBC network," says Wayne Soll, an engineer for KECI-TV. "Basically, it means staying on the air, which means we can bill for commercials, which means we stay in business. It's definitely a critical link in the chain." The Challenge Decades ago, KECI had experimented with windmills as an attempt to provide power to its microwave relay site. The informal name of the summit, Windmill Peak, remained. The power source didn't. "In the 1960s and '70s, the technology of generators using wind power was pretty crude," notes Soll. "Up on the mountaintop, they kept coming apart, falling down, blades breaking. Wind generators just weren't cutting the mustard." Global's Solution In 1977, KECI-TV turned to Global Thermoelectric, whose hardy Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs) are renowned for their long-term, failsafe operation in remote locations. Two propane-fuelled Model 5120 TEGs, placed on Windmill Peak, provide constant power to a pair of microwave systems – radios, dishes, and amplifiers – that send digital TV signals back and forth across the top of the Continental Divide. Results Despite high winds and bitterly cold Rocky Mountain temperatures, Global's TEG technology has kept NBC on the air in western Montana through thick and thin. When the power converter on one of the Windmill Peak TEGs finally needed replacing in the spring of 2009, it marked the end of a 31-year, six-month run of continuous remote power. "Very impressive. We were told to expect a 15-year lifespan, and we got more than 30 without any incidents," says Soll. "Until recently, we haven't really needed anything in the way of sales and service, because (the TEGs) just keep going. The generators have worked really well."
Overview Global offers a line of Hybrid systems, combining solar with generators, and can convert any solar system to a hybrid with a thermoelectric or other type of generator. The Situation Suncor Energy Inc. is an integrated energy company developing one of the world's largest petroleum reserves – the Athabasca oil sands in northern Alberta, Canada. The company also develops and produces natural gas resources and refines crude oil to market a range of petroleum and petrochemical products, primarily under the Sunoco brand. Suncor's natural gas business has a facility called the Simonette Gas Plant. Because its primary function is to manage and process sour gas, stringent requirements are in place to shut down the incoming pipeline in the event of a safety concern. This pipeline runs beyond power lines, so remote power solutions are required to monitor and control the Emergency Shut Down (ESD) systems. The Challenge Suncor Energy Inc. is an integrated energy company developing one of the world's largest petroleum reserves – the Athabasca oil sands in northern Alberta, Canada. The company also develops and produces natural gas resources and refines crude oil to market a range of petroleum and petrochemical products, primarily under the Sunoco brand. Suncor's natural gas business has a facility called the Simonette Gas Plant. Because its primary function is to manage and process sour gas, stringent requirements are in place to shut down the incoming pipeline in the event of a safety concern. This pipeline runs beyond power lines, so remote power solutions are required to monitor and control the Emergency Shut Down (ESD) systems. Global's Solution Global's model 5030 TEG produces 21W of continuous, regulated DC power as long as there is a supply of fuel. This was easy to secure as each Suncor site had a supply of clean, sweet gas used to power and control instrumentation. The TEG was connected to the battery terminals of the existing solar system. Since both solar and TEGs have output blocking diodes, extra wiring was not required. The TEG covered the electrical demand completely so that the solar panels could be "recycled" into other applications. At present the panels (2 x 100W) remain and Suncor has not yet decided whether it is worth it to remove them. Timing Suncor started to experience solar system failure when the sun was at its lowest on December 21st. Global was able to provide seven small TEGs within two weeks of the order. Results Since the installation of the TEGs, the system has worked flawlessly. To ensure reliable operation, Suncor subsequently decided to install TEGs at all eight ESD locations. The potential loss of production and safety concerns far outweighed the cost to retrofit the sites.
Union Pacific Railway
Overview For Union Pacific, a remote power solution needs to be reliable first and foremost as they support the critical systems we need to keep operations running smoothly and safely when the primary system fails. R. Williams Telecommunications Engineer Union Pacific Railway The Situation Union Pacific Railway needed reliable "back-up power" for remote railroad crossings in Wyoming, USA. Union Pacific Railway relies on AC "grid powered" systems to power the controls that speak to its railway crossings, switches and indicators. The system is based on a central computer connected by radio control links from repeater stations located across the country. Many of these locations are remote and do not have access to an AC grid or are positioned where the grid is unreliable. The Challenge The challenge was to provide the radio repeater locations with primary or reliable back-up power where AC power was either unavailable or unreliable. Once connected to the system, it was essential for Union Pacific to maintain a reliable supply of power to these stations. Loss of power to any one station could affect train schedules, customer satisfaction and ultimately safety. Finding a power solution that was right for these remote locations was an issue that Union Pacific was anxious to resolve. Global Thermoelectric was asked to develop a remote power solution that was both reliable and low maintenance. Global's Solution Global's solution was to supply Union Pacific with propane-fueled Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs) with a custom electronic and ignition system. These actively monitored the AC power that entered the railroad crossing control system. If the AC power is found absent for more than 20 minutes continuously, the generator will turn itself on and provide power. Global's products have the advantage of 'no moving parts'. This makes them both durable and strong, resistant to the effects of extreme environmental conditions. Timing Six to eight weeks after challenge was identified. Results Reliable power for systems that control critical railroad crossings. Due to the importance of having a reliable system for power Union Pacific regularly checks Global's power solution remotely. The propane powered TEGS have never failed to provide the back-up power needed to power the repeater stations.