Government of Canada and SDTC Announce New Clean Technology Funding in British Columbia

March 16, 2015                       Richmond                   Natural Resources Canada and SDTC

The Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced funding of $27.3 million to support the development and demonstration of clean technologies in British Columbia. The funding was provided through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)’s SD Tech Fund™.


West Fraser Mills Ltd. — LignoForce™ Lignin Recovery Plant

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary)/ Clean Air (co-benefit)
Sector: Forestry, Wood Products and Pulp and Paper Products
SDTC Investment: $6,100,000

The natural glue that holds wood together, lignin, is necessary for a growing tree but a waste product for a kraft pulp mill. But if processed properly, lignin can displace petroleum-derived resins used in a variety of applications, specifically, in the manufacture of plywood. West Fraser Mills will use FPInnovation’s patented LignoForce™ process to recover lignin from black liquor, the solution containing dissolved lignin, hemicelluloses and chemicals resulting from the pulping process. With performance equal to that of conventional petroleum-based resin, the use of lignin will result in substantially reduced production costs, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This project will see the construction of Canada’s first LignoForce™ commercial demonstration lignin recovery plant, and the consortium will work to identify new applications for lignin and ultimately grow the market.

Consortium Members:
West Fraser Mills
AB Plywood
Hinton Pulp
Quesnel Plywood

BBCP Conductor Inc. — Project Green Conductor

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary)/Clean Air (co-benefit)          
Sector: Power Generation
SDTC Investment: $3,660,000

It is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of electricity generated in developed countries never reaches the consumer, being lost as heat due to the resistance of cables and wires. Ever since the discovery of the extremely low resistance of carbon nanotubes, researchers have speculated that adding them to the aluminum and copper used in the distribution of electricity would lower the resistance of the wire, holding out the promise of lower grid losses, lower energy losses and reduced waste. There were already good indications that a nanotube-metal alloy would be stronger, which is also important to the electrical industry. Until now, efforts to use nanotubes to strengthen wires while decreasing resistivity have been largely unsuccessful. BBCP Conductor has developed a unique method to accomplish these goals: their aluminum wires are both less resistive and stronger than conventional aluminum electrical wires. The consortium partners will be using BBCP wire in a variety of grid-related products to validate the expected increase in performance.

Consortium Members:
BBCP Conductor Inc.
Hammond Power Solutions   
Partner Technologies Inc.      
Raymor Industries Inc.          
Nexans Canada         
Valard Construction LP

David Bromley Engineering — Demonstration of Nanoflotation Technology for Effluent Treatment

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary)/ Clean Water (co-benefit)
Sector: Waste Management
SDTC Investment: $3,225,000

The oil and gas industry is working to reduce water use, but water is critical to the extraction of resources. The industry currently uses treatment processes that filter water through membranes and use high levels of chemicals and energy to produce filtered, clean effluent water. Nanoflotation technology could change that. Filtration is performed using a membrane that has a unique replaceable membrane layer technology. The replaceable membrane layer is a powder that causes the smallest particles in the water to separate from water and attach to the powder. Once the powder membrane layer is full, it is replaced with a new layer. This demonstration project will use three key wastewater streams from an oil sands operation (evaporator blow down, steam-assisted gravity drainage and fractured shale flow back waters) and will provide the basis for full-scale commercialization in oil and gas water treatment applications. This method of nanoflotation could reduce the use of energy by 65 percent and of chemicals by 86 percent, resulting in 41 percent lower capital costs and 33 percent lower operating costs.

Consortium Members:
David Bromley Engineering Ltd. (DBE)
PurLucid Treatment Solutions Inc.
A.H. Lundberg

Carbon Engineering Ltd. — Direct Air Capture Pilot Plant Demonstration

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change
Sector: Energy exploration and production
SDTC Investment: $3,000,000

Carbon Engineering has developed a novel and cost-effective direct air capture (DAC) process to extract CO2 from atmospheric air for use in the production of ultra-low carbon fuels. DAC CO2 can be utilized for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) or for the production of algal biofuels, which can be sold at a premium in markets that have adopted low carbon fuel standards (LCFS), such as California. It is anticipated that the market for these fuels will rapidly expand as other states and regions adopt similar regulations. DAC can also provide pure CO2 at the point of demand for other industrial applications. SDTC funds will support the build and operation of a pilot plant that uses the DAC process, a scalable technology that integrates a set of proven industrial processes in a novel configuration. The process absorbs CO2 into a liquid solution, where it is easier to separate out, producing a pure stream of industrial-grade CO2 at high pressure, while regenerating the original capture solution. The EOR or algal-based fuels made using this technology will have 60 percent lower life-cycle carbon-intensity than those made with conventional processes. DAC technology also enables the future synthesis of sustainable liquid hydrocarbon fuels with zero net carbon emissions.

Consortium Members:
Carbon Engineering Ltd.
Summit Power LLC
Trestle Energy Inc.
Century Petroleum

ZincNyx Energy Solutions — Rechargeable Zinc Air Fuel Cell

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary)/Clean Air (co-benefit)
Sector: Power Generation
SDTC Investment: $2,900,000

The energy industry has not yet developed a battery that brings together the perfect combination of power capability, storage capacity and low cost. ZincNyx may have the solution with its rechargeable zinc air fuel cell (RZFC) that uses zinc and air — two of the most abundant materials on Earth — as fuel. Used in a fuel cell, zinc provides high energy density, rapid kinetics, chemical stability and reversibility. This type of fuel cell specifically separates the charge, discharge and storage functions so that they can be independently tailored to the specific customer’s needs. This project will scale up a technology from its original intended purpose — backup for a remote telecommunications site power — to a wider market of microgrid energy storage, where these units can augment or displace diesel power generation. An intermediate scale demo unit (5 kW/40 kWh) will be installed at a Teck Resources Ltd. subsidiary for two years, where the performance of the RZFC technology will be evaluated under a variety of conditions and load parameters.

Consortium Members:
ZincNyx Energy Solutions
National Research Council of Canada
University of British Columbia
Teck Resources Limited
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Saltworks Technologies Inc. — Low-Energy, Low-Cost Desalination: Oil Sands Demonstration with Global Applications

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (co-benefit)/Clean Air (co-benefit)/Clean Water (primary)
Sector: Energy exploration and production
SDTC Investment: $2,500,000

Steam-assisted gravity drainage — SAGD — uses steam to soften underground oil sands, separating oil and sand. This process is both energy- and water-intensive, and producers are looking for ways to reduce use of both. Saltworks Technologies has developed two water treatment solutions that could help: the Multivalent Separator and the SaltMaker. The Multivalent Separator is a low-energy, chemical-free softening process incorporating Saltworks’ IonFlux membranes that eliminate the need for carbon-intensive conventional lime softening commonly used in many industries. The SaltMaker harnesses waste heat to reliably treat highly impaired water — such as SAGD boiler blowdown, which is typically disposed of underground or treated by energy-intensive conventional processes — into freshwater and solids. Saltworks’ technology will be piloted in a working oil sands facility to demonstrate electricity savings of up to 70 percent, helping Canadian industry meet increasingly stringent water usage requirements while reducing the use of chemicals and associated health and safety risks, all with a lower total cost than the conventional technologies used today.

Consortium Members:
Saltworks Technologies Inc.
Epcor Utilities Inc.

SWITCH Materials Inc. — Energy-Efficient Glazing for CAFE 2025 Vehicles

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (primary)/ Clean Air (co-benefit)
Sector: Transportation
SDTC Investment: $2,500,000

Vehicle manufacturers are eager to produce cars that use energy wisely in a number of ways, from fuel efficiency to battery efficiency and beyond. One way is to reduce heat and glare in vehicle cabins — a move that would then reduce the resulting need for interior cooling. SWITCH Materials will develop and demonstrate energy-efficient switchable glazing for car windows: a hybrid photo-electrochromic window technology that automatically darkens in sunlight. The user can optionally increase the amount of light entering the cabin through electronic control. By blocking heat and light, regardless of whether the vehicle is in use or parked, SWITCH windows reduce air-conditioning requirements and vehicle cool-down time, saving energy, reducing emissions in traditional vehicles and improving the driving range of electric vehicles. By developing and demonstrating the technology in partnership with automotive manufacturers and supply chain partners, the project will accelerate deployment of energy-saving smart windows that will help vehicle manufacturers meet tough new fuel efficiency requirements by 2017.

Consortium Members:
SWITCH Materials
General Motors Inc.
Guardian Automotive Glass

Terramera Inc. — Development and Demonstration of Neem-Based Biopesticide

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (co-benefit)/Clean Air (co-benefit)/Clean Water (co-benefit)/Clean Soil (primary)
Sector: Agriculture
SDTC Investment: $1,985,000

The use of synthetic pesticides, such as methyl bromide, is being phased out in North America because of their negative environmental impacts. The use of pesticides to control target pest populations on a farm in order to improve the yield of small-fruit crops and ornamentals is necessary to a successful agricultural operation. Without the use of pesticides, insect pests and diseases would attack and compromise a farmer’s crop. Terramera is developing a neem-oil-based biopesticide that is expected to fill the gap being created as the currently used synthetic pesticides are phased out. Neem oil, derived from South Asia’s neem tree, has long been applauded for its natural pest-controlling characteristics. Neem oil alone has a short shelf-life and is unstable. Terramera has developed a formulation incorporating components such as stabilizers and adjuvants that extend the oil’s shelf life and enhance the mode of action against target pests. With this project, Terramera will establish the application rates and confirm the efficacy of its biopesticide in field trials.

Consortium Members:
Terramera Inc.           
Evonik Corporation    
Plant Sciences Inc.    
Kalala Organic Winery Ltd.    
Kwantlen Polytechnic Univ.   

Polymer Research Technologies — Pilot-Scale Production of Recyclopol™ Polyols (Polyurethane Recycling)

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change (co-benefit)/Clean Soil (primary)
Sector: Waste Management
SDTC Investment: $1,116,826

Not many know what polyurethane foam is, but chances are most of us have used it today. Based on a petroleum-based substance called polyol, nearly 5 million tonnes of polyurethane foam are produced in North America per year and used in a wide range of products, including construction materials, automobile parts, furniture, ridged insulation, packaging, textiles, footwear and adhesives. Every year, almost 3 million tonnes of waste polyurethane are incinerated or take up valuable limited landfill space, resulting in significant costs and impacts on the environment. Polymer Research Technologies has developed an innovative, single-stage proprietary technology that chemically converts waste polyurethane foam into high-quality polyol, which can be substituted for currently available polyols in products, thus cost-effectively closing the loop on polyurethane recycling. The company has proven its technology at bench-scale and is now working on the construction and operation of a pilot-scale demonstration project.

Consortium Members:
Polymer Research Technologies (PRT)
Woodbridge Group
Johnson Controls

Unit Electrical Engineering Ltd — Energy-Efficient Transit Propulsion Pilot Program Project

Environmental Benefits: Climate Change
Sector: Transportation
SDTC Investment: $344,217

Propulsion systems — or drivetrains — on mass transit rail vehicles represent up to 60 percent of their total energy consumption and also make up four percent of their total weight — factors that reduce the efficiency of the entire mass transit operation and drive up emissions. Unit Electrical Engineering and its consortium are building more powerful, lighter and more efficient propulsion systems. One function of the propulsion system in particular, the linear induction motor (LIM), is being redesigned and optimized to reduce the weight and improve efficiency of the current air-cooled unit by 10 percent. The optimization of the LIM translates into lowered capital costs and reduced life-cycle costs and contributes to a reduction in electricity costs for the end user. The optimized LIM will also address the differing needs for transit systems in emerging markets by introducing a more effective cooling approach that protects against sand and temperature extremes, making this product ideal for export opportunities, specifically in the Middle East, where rail is an emerging sector with close to $165-billion worth of projects.

Consortium Members:
Unit Electrical Engineering Ltd
Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc.