Hamilton Community Enterprises (HCE) is spearheading the Energy Harvesting Study in collaboration with other leading organizations committed to decarbonizing our world.

HCE is a for-profit technology company owned by the City of Hamilton, governed by an independent board of directors, and operated by a professional management team. It was formed in 2000 following a decision by the Province of Ontario to deregulate the electricity market. HCE runs two complementary divisions that work together to produce economic, social, and environmental value for the wider community:

  • HCE Telecom is a data infrastructure and managed services provider focused on mission-critical Internet and AI solutions.
  • HCE Energy provides high-efficiency, low-carbon energy-as-a-service heating and cooling solutions for a range of customers in public and private markets.

A Decarbonization Leader

HCE has stepped up as a leader in accelerating the transition to net zero by promoting the mainstream adoption of proven technologies and practices that lower GHG emissions, combat global warming, and provide cost savings.

HCE is focused on helping the building sector — a major contributor to GHG emissions — conserve energy through the application of smart technologies, connect to thermal energy distribution systems, and over time, convert to low- and zero-carbon fuel sources.

In the drive to decarbonize the building sector, HCE is at the forefront of the energy harvesting movement, a global effort to capture and recirculate residual thermal energy from industry and other sources.

At present, Canadian communities lose more energy to the atmosphere than they use. Harvesting thermal energy is an established way to address this problem while lowering costs, advancing the circular economy, and addressing the root causes of climate change.

Steps to Achieve Hamilton’s Energy Harvesting Potential

Since 2015, HCE has engaged in a sequence of collaborative actions that are moving Hamilton, Ontario closer to the goal of achieving its energy harvesting potential. Steps to-date include:

  1. Integrated Community Energy Initiative (Ongoing)
    A partnership led by the McMaster University Institute for Energy Studies focused on innovations in localized energy solutions, including heat recovery, storage, and reuse.
  2. Industrial Waste Heat Recovery Project (2019-2020)
    HCE contributed to a high-level study led by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce which showed that manufacturers operating in Hamilton’s Bayfront Industrial Area generate enough residual thermal energy to heat more than 80 million sq ft of building space and trigger GHG emission reductions equivalent to taking more than 95,000 gas-fuelled vehicles off the road.
  3. HCE’s Energy Harvesting Project (launched in 2021)
    This is a long-term effort to accelerate the harvesting of thermal energy in Hamilton and beyond. Select sources range from industrial furnaces and chemical reactors to data centres, commercial-grade refrigerators, and cooling towers, to name a few.
  4. HCE’s Energy Harvesting Study (2023-2024)
    HCE is currently spearheading a detailed study to quantify the merits of the opportunities cited in the Hamilton Chamber’s report published in 2021. The study is funded by a public-private sector group that includes ArcelorMittal Dofasco, Enbridge Gas, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Hamilton Community Enterprises, Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority, Slate Asset Management, and The Atmospheric Fund. Combined, these funders have contributed approximately $500,000 toward the study.

The study is being conducted in partnership with industry (heat producers) and building constructors, owners, and operators (heat users), and is intent on identifying a commercial model and governance structure that would ensure the long-term sustainability of a low-carbon thermal distribution system.

The proposed system would draw on best practices for largescale, long-distance heat networks commonly found in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

The results of the study, which will include a high-level design for a proposed thermal energy distribution system, will be released in mid-2024.

Canada’s Thermal Corridor: Working Toward a Shared Vision

The goal of HCE, and others involved in the Energy Harvesting Study, is to use the study findings — and preliminary technical, commercial, and governance recommendations — to initiate work on building Canada’s Thermal Corridor, a made-in-Hamilton initiative to address climate change, complement the transition to green manufacturing, and create quality jobs in the net zero economy.

“The corridor would utilize proven energy harvesting technologies that are decarbonizing communities worldwide.”
David Inkley, VP Engineering and Business Development, Hamilton Community Enterprises