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Capilano Break Head Tank and Energy Recovery Facility

Publication: Canadian Consulting Engineer
Issue: October/November 2016
Issue Title: 2016 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards

The Capilano Break Head Tank and Energy Recovery Facility (BHT & ERF) is a vital link in the Seymour-Capilano Water Filtration System that supplies treated potable water to the cities of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Burnaby.

Knight Piésold designed and commissioned the BHT & ERF, which dissipates excess energy in the water flowing from the Seymour-Capilano filtration plant and recovers that energy to generate electricity. The facility has one of the largest energy recovery turbines in a municipal treated potable water system in North America.

Located adjacent to the Capilano Reservoir and the Cleveland Dam, the facility is at the terminus of a 7-km-long, gravity-driven tunnel from the filtration plant. Because the filtration plant is 30 metres higher in elevation, the gravity-fed treated water passing through the tunnel reaches excess pressures. Knight Piésold worked closely with Metro Vancouver to create innovative solutions at the BHT & ERF. The plant enables water to be distributed to consumers in the cities, while concurrently generating electricity that partially offsets the energy consumed by one 2,000 HP pump at the Capilano Pump Station.

The new facility can either dissipate the excess water pressure through pressure reducing valves, or it can convert the excess pressure and flow into electricity through a hydroelectric turbine. This energy, which would otherwise be lost, is expected to generate enough electricity, equivalent to powering up to 1,000 homes, to reduce Metro Vancouver’s total energy consumption by approximately 9,600 MWh/year.

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