3 Ontario-based cleantech companies among those vying for Carbon XPRIZE

Three Ontario companies; Pond Technologies, Tandem Technical and University of Toronto's CERT have been selected as semi-finalists in the NRG COSIA "Carbon XPRIZE." The Carbon XPRIZE is a $20 million global competition to develop breakthrough clean technologies that will convert carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from power plants and industrial facilities into valuable by-products such as building materials and alternative fuel.

Carbon XPRIZE competitors supported by up to $2.5M in funding through Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

Through the support of the Ontario government, OCE has stepped in with up to $2.5 million in funding to support Ontario-based teams competing for the Carbon XPRIZE. Funding is made available through OCE's $74 million TargetGHG program, a part of Ontario's $325-million Green Investment Fund that is a part of Ontario's 5 year Climate Action Plan. Over the past two years, OCE has supported 243 clean-tech related projects.

Meet the 3 Ontario cleantech companies vying for the coveted Carbon XPRIZE

Ottawa, Toronto and Markham are each represented by the three Ontario teams working on tackling climate change caused by emissions from power plants and industrial facilities.

University of Toronto Engineering Team, CERT, is taking advantage of Ontario's clean electricity grid

"It's similar to water splitting to produce hydrogen," says Alexander Ip of Carbon Electrocatalytic Recycling Toronto, a team based out of the University of Toronto's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which includes Professors David Sinton and Eugenia Kumacheva. "We are developing a technology called electrocatalysis, which uses electricity to upgrade CO₂ into useful fuels and feed stocks. By converting CO₂ into new products, we can close the carbon cycle and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels."

"Coupled with Ontario's strong support for sustainability research, we have been able to make great strides in developing our technology."

– Alexander IP, Carbon Electrocatalytic Recycling Toronto

"At the University of Toronto, we have access to some of the top research facilities worldwide and also some of the brightest minds," Ip explains. His team also makes use of the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP), which provides the computational power to understand their materials and design better ones.

Tandem Technical is pushing to make a difference

Located in Ottawa, Tandem Technical has successfully developed patent-pending technology that collects harmful effluent gases and turns them into non-toxic, high-demand minerals.

"In Ontario, we've really gotten the sense that most industry players and public offices are proud to push innovation and work towards meeting a goal; and not simply have the market force their hand," says Jerry Flynn, President of Tandem Technical. "For us, that means university, industrial, and municipal partnerships that benefit everyone." Flynn moved to Canada after starting his career as a process engineer in the Washington D.C. area.

Tandem Technical also takes advantage of Northumberland CFDC's N1M program, which grants them access to funding and business development services in exchange for bringing business to the area. "It's a fantastic location to do business," says Flynn, "because it is right outside of Toronto, where a lot of industrial headquarters are located and it's relatively close to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), where we're setting up some research projects with the help of the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)."

Pond Technology is harnessing photosynthesis to transform GHG emissions into marketable products

Pond has developed world-leading technology that takes the unprocessed exhaust from cement, steel, and power generation facilities and uses it to grow algae, which can then be processed into biodiesel and a solid biofuel, explains Peter Howard, Vice President of Sustainability at Pond Technologies in Markham, Ontario.

"Ontario has a number of advantages as a place to start a business, including world-class universities, highly skilled workers, a favorable tax environment, and extensive manufacturing facilities," says Howard. “The future of the cleantech sector in Ontario is bright. There is a supportive policy environment right now, as a result of the Green Energy and Economy Act and the incoming cap and trade regulations. These are policies that will really drive growth in the sector."

Finalists of the Carbon XPRIZE will be announced in December 2017, with the grand prize announcement scheduled for March 2020. We wish our Ontario competitors the best of luck in pursuit of the XPRIZE.

Learn more about why world-class cleantech firms are choosing to grow their business in Ontario

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