Canadian Natural Resources Limited - Radio Communications


Canadian Natural Resources Limited - Radio Communications


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 at Canadian Natural Resources Limited

The Situation

Radio Communication networks need reliable low maintenance, reliable long-term operation in remote locations.  CNRL chose TEGs (Thermoelectric Generators) to meet their needs.  CNRL, a senior independent oil and gas exploration and production company, needed a reliable source of power for a radio communications 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."

Gentherm Global Power Technologies'* (GPT) Solution

Canadian Natural turned to GPT for its quiet, robust thermoelectric generators (TEGs), which are renowned for their low maintenance, reliable long-term 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.


Installation of the GPT 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.


GPT has installed more than 25,000 remote power systems in 55 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."

*Formerly Global Thermoelectric

Gentherm Global Power Technologies*(GPT)  Remote power products are designed for a minimum 20-year service life.

  • check marks GPT solutions are known for their ability to operate reliably in any environment.
  • check marks There are 35,000+ GPT products installed in 55 countries.
  • check marks GPT has received the Canada Export Award three times as well as a special Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • check marks GPT's head office is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
  • check marks GPT has corporate offices in Canada and the U.S. and authorized sales representatives throughout the world.
  • check marks GPT and its employees are active contributors to its customer communities through charitable donations and volunteer work
  • check marks GPT provides:
    Power where you need it.®

 Global Thermoelectric