2024 Environment & Sustainability Award Recipient

This award is presented to APEGA members who have demonstrated excellence in the application of engineering or geoscientific methods towards preservation of the environment and the practice of sustainable development.

Ole Yin, P.Eng. 

Ole Yin, P.Eng.

While leading a two-year pilot project to explore emission-reduction options across TC Energy’s North American pipeline network, professional engineer Ole Yin knew a unique approach was required. He chose to do things differently, show up curious, and challenge assumptions.

Yin is a senior pipeline integrity and operations engineer at TC Energy’s Calgary office. The project team he led pushed technical boundaries, resulting in several innovations in blowdown management, a process during routine pipeline maintenance in which gases are flared or vented into the atmosphere. Engineering teams with TC Energy devised custom solutions to address unique challenges at the company’s different facilities. “It required a mix of engineering ingenuity and adaptability to tailor our strategies in each specific situation,” shares Yin.

Ten trials have been completed at field sites across Alberta, with two more planned for 2024. Advanced blowdown reduction technologies were tested and evaluated on their reliability, scalability, safety, and efficiency. Adopting new technologies like this helps the company position itself to achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. One of the technologies tested eliminated the equivalent of nearly 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in its first 18 months. That’s equal to the annual electricity use of about 133,700 households.

Other benefits include reduced maintenance down time, improved air quality in nearby communities, and cost savings—gases can now be saved and sold instead of emitted. TC Energy will use the information from this pilot project to develop a comprehensive blowdown technology strategy for its 93,300 kilometres of natural gas pipelines.

“We proved these are solid technologies,” says Yin. “Full implementation will be an important step on our journey towards zero emissions.” The project has established industry-leading best practices and enhanced Alberta’s reputation as a global leader in environmentally responsible practices in the energy sector.

For Yin—who has more than 30 years’ experience as a mechanical engineer—it’s a great example of how Alberta engineering professionals are constantly evaluating how they work, embracing change, and proactively solving pressing environmental challenges. The trial also taught him that small contributions can make a big difference.

“It's incredibly fulfilling to pool our collective creativity to solve problems, enhance safety, and keep operations running smoothly,” says Yin. “I’m most proud of contributing my insights to not only meet TC Energy’s emission-reduction targets, but to support Canada’s environmental objectives.”

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • Member, EGBC (2023–present)
  • Member, Field Operations Subcommittee, American Gas Association (2023)
  • Member, Materials Technical Subcommittee, CSA Group (2022)
  • Member, 6S Subcommittee, American Petroleum Institute (2021)
  • Member, APEGA (2014–present)