The Canadian federal government views low-carbon, low-pollution, and resource-efficient technology as an economic opportunity for Canada to compete and excel in the global market. Among G20 countries, Canada is number one for cleantech innovation and, in January 2019, 12 Canadian companies were recognized on the 2019 Global Cleantech 100 List.
Federal Budget 2017 allocated over $2.3 billion to support clean technology and the growth of Canadian firms and exports, and since then numerous projects have been awarded hundreds of thousands or even millions in government funding.
Clean technology as a term might seem a bit unclear. Natural Resources Canada defines it as “any process, product, or service that reduces environmental impacts.” Below, we’ve highlighted some of the clean tech projects announced over the past year and a half, to create a clearer picture of the government’s funding priorities in this area.
Clean Tech for Canada’s Farms: Advanced Intelligent Systems
Program: Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)
Location: Burnaby, BC
Project: Advanced Intelligent Systems (AIS) provides custom robotic solutions to industries faced with labour shortages. For example, AIS’s flagship robot, BigTop, uses sensors to observe its environment and autonomously make decisions about its behaviour. In a nursery setting, BigTop can identify potted plants of various shapes and sizes and move them for optimal growth. Clean tech funding for AIS from the Government of Canada will support the company’s ongoing development of robots to automate dangerous and difficult tasks in the nursery and agriculture industries.
Commodifying Greenhouse Gases: C2CNT Corporation
Location: Calgary, AB
Project: C2CNT addresses global warming with technology that transforms greenhouse gases into a valuable commodity: carbon nanotubes (CNTs). C2CNT’s product is manufactured at a lower cost than other CNTs and is a lighter and stronger alternative to steel and aluminum. Canadian government funding for C2CNT is supporting further development of the company’s process to produce less expensive, higher quality, and more sustainable carbon nanotubes from recycled carbon dioxide.
AI & Clean Tech Funding: Ecopia Tech
Location: Toronto, ON
Project: Ecopia Tech leverages AI to convert high resolution images of the earth into HD vector maps, offering unique insights for government and organizational decision-making. Ecopia Tech will use clean tech funding from the Canadian federal government to create the first comprehensive digital map of all of Sub-Saharan Africa, including 342 million buildings, 3.8 million kilometres of roads, and 582 million hectares of forests. The map will be used to monitor environmental health, plan and deploy renewable energy infrastructure, and police deforestation.
Concrete Technology: Kruger Biomaterials
Location: Trois-Rivieres, QC
Project: Kruger Biomaterials produces and markets FiloCell cellulose filaments, which confer strength, stability, flexibility, and resistance to a range of products, including thermoplastics, paper products, and concrete. FiloCell also reduces GHG emissions from the use of these products. Funding from SDTC will enable Kruger Biomaterials to accelerate the commercialization of FiloCell, especially for the concrete industry.
Environmental Footprint: Clean Tech Funding for the City of Moncton
Program: FCM Green Municipal Fund
Location: Moncton, NB
Project: The City of Moncton is launching a pilot project to test a low-carbon district energy system at its municipal operations centre. The City will use over $260K in FCM funding to replace an oil-fired boiler with a biomass boiler, as part of this pilot project. The project is expected to reduce greenhouse gases, operating costs, and the City’s carbon footprint, in addition to increasing local energy resilience.
Chilling in Toronto: Canadian Government Funding for Enwave Energy
Program: Low Carbon Economy Challenge
Location: Toronto, ON
Project: Enwave Energy’s deep lake water cooling system draws cold water from Lake Ontario and uses it to cool hospitals as well as government, educational, and high-rise buildings in Toronto’s downtown core. Funding from the Low Carbon Economy Challenge will enable the expansion of this system, reducing the amount of energy needed to air-condition buildings by up to 80%.
Keep on Trucking: Westport Fuel Systems
Program: Natural Gas Innovation Fund
Location: Vancouver, BC
Project: Westport Fuel Systems develops and manufactures advanced clean fuel systems. Clean tech funding will support the development and testing of Westport’s high performance compressed natural gas (CNG) storage system to drive the use of more natural gas in the transportation sector. This will help reduce operating and fuel costs, and lower emissions. As a result, Canadian companies that own trucking fleets will be better able to adopt cleaner fuel sources without compromising day-to-day efficiency.
Energy Storage at Sea: Corvus Energy
Program: National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP)
Location: Richmond, BC
Project: Corvus Energy leverages its advanced lithium power technology to supply safe and reliable energy storage solutions to all segments in the maritime industry. Corvus will receive funding of up to $6M from NRC IRAP for research and development to create the next generation of energy storage and digitalization technologies for marine vessels. The project will drive the evolution of energy conservation and emissions reduction practices in the marine industry.
More Opportunities Ahead?
These are only a handful of the numerous clean technology projects that have been awarded funding over the past year or two—Canadian government funding related to clean tech has been distributed in virtually every industry. As well, the above does not cover all federal programs that fund clean technology. Some additional programs include the Agricultural Clean Technology Program and the Climate Action Incentive Fund, for example. There is opportunity in the area of clean technology funding for innovative firms, and this opportunity may only continue to grow.
Canadian businesses interested in learning about future application call dates for any of the programs above, please sign up for Mentor Works’ Weekly Funding Newsletter.