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Dalhousie University and FVB Energy Win 2022 IDEA Innovation Award

By District Energy posted 06-16-2022 10:28


On Tuesday, June 7 at the IDEA2022 Annual Conference in Toronto, ON, Canada, IDEA presented Dalhousie University and FVB Energy, Inc. with the coveted 2022 IDEA Innovation Award for their submission, Utilizing Organic Rankine Cycle Technology to Improve Campus District Energy System Efficiencies.

The award was presented at the IDEA Recognition Luncheon to Rochelle Owen, Executive Director, Office of Sustainability; Kevin Craig, Chief Engineer; and Andre Mereshuk, Asset Reinvestment Planner and Mechanical Engineer at Dalhousie; and Michael Conte, Engineering Manager, FVB Energy, Inc. 

Dalhousie is a leader among universities and campus energy providers seeking innovative and economically responsible ways to reach 2050 Net Zero targets. To that end, in 2014, Dalhousie University applied for the Nova Scotia Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) program, based on a biomass-powered back pressure steam turbine.

Dalhousie worked with FVB Energy to integrate a biomass-powered Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) Turbine to produce the electricity required under the COMFIT program. In operation for two full years, this project has exceeded expectations with gains in both revenue and GHG savings.

You can review their submission for the IDEA 2022 Innovation Award here.

With a record number of submissions, 2022 was one of the most difficult selection processes in years, with several submissions worthy of consideration. As Innovation Award Chairman Bob Smith remarked, "This year's entries for the innovation award were submitted by IDEA members in multiple countries and represented a diverse collection of technical and business ideas. What made Dalhousie and FVB Energy’s submission especially attractive is the integration of an Organic Ranking Cycle power generation system to provide nearly 75% of all the campus electricity needs. This has not been shown before on this kind of scale”

In recognition of the high number of diverse and worthy submissions, the IDEA Innovation Award Committee also awarded two Honorable Mention nods to the following organizations:

Chilled Water Network Leak Detection Project – submitted by Emicool (Dubai)

District Heat Recovery – submitted by Enwave Energy Corporation

Each year, the IDEA Innovation Award continues to showcase the ingenuity, know-how and initiative to find solutions to today’s energy and climate challenges.  The IDEA Innovation Award is intended to showcase the collaboration and problem-solving that results from IDEA business partners and district energy systems working together.

As IDEA President and CEO Rob Thornton notes“IDEA is pleased to recognize the collaboration between Dalhousie University and FVB Energy with the 2022 Innovation Award, demonstrating how IDEA business partners continue to support technical innovation with our institutional and corporate members to increase efficiency, reduce emissions and enhance resiliency.”

About the IDEA Innovation Award
The IDEA Innovation Award showcases examples of technology, engineering and operational innovation within the district energy industry. Presented annually at IDEA's Annual Conference & Trade Show, the award is evaluated in four main categories:

  • Ingenuity: the technology has to be a new technical, business, or operating practice that shows ingenuity.
  • Measured Success: the technology must be working for a sustained period of time with demonstrated efficiency success that can be measured.
  • Replicable: the innovation must be replicable, meaning that this idea can be easily applied elsewhere.
  • Economic & Environmental: the innovation must demonstrate economic and environmental benefits.

Visit the IDEA Innovation Award page for more information. To learn more about IDEA, visit



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