These projects are designed to improve the energy efficiency of the electrolysis process used in the production of sodium chlorate. Sodium chlorate is an industrial salt used to produce chlorine dioxide, the key ingredient in an environmentally preferred pulp bleaching process. The electrolytic cells now in use will be replaced with new high-performance cells to reduce electricity consumption. The projected power savings for the 50 projects will amount to 50 GWh per year, the equivalent of the average annual consumption of about 3,000 Quebec households. In terms of greenhouse gases, these savings will represent the equivalent of 17,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.
ERCO Worldwide is a major producer of sodium chlorate for the North American pulp and paper industry and a world leader in chlorine dioxide generator technology. In addition, ERCO's Buckingham plant produces sodium chlorite for water treatment and food processing markets throughout North America.
Hydro-Quebec plans to invest $1.3 billion by 2010 with a view to reaching annual electricity savings of 4.7 TWh as targeted in its Energy Efficiency Plan.