Canadian Manufacturing

7 Ontario cleantech firms share $27M in SDTC funding

Federally-backed SDTC handed out more than $51 million in funding to 11 clean technology projects in Ontario, Quebec in four days



TORONTO—Days after dishing out $25 million to four clean technology projects in Quebec, the federally-back Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) investments totalling $26.8 million in seven projects in neighbouring Ontario.

Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford and acting SDTC boss Jane Pagel announced the investments made through the SD Tech Fund, including an $8.1-million investment in Ottawa-based graphene research and development firm Grafoid Inc.

“This is a great day for the Canadian graphene industry and for Grafoid, in particular, because it leads us out of the laboratory and into the automated manufacturing of the world’s new wonder material,” Grafoid founding partner and chief executive Gary Economo said in a statement from his company.

“Effectively, (this) grant enables us to take a giant leap towards graphene’s broader commercialization.”

The “strongest material known to science,” graphene is a two-dimensional pure carbon derived from graphite.

The company’s patent-pending process turns high-grade graphite into single, bi- and tri-layer graphene, which is apdapted for use in the biomedical, renewable energy, aerospace and defence, automotive, construction, and lubricants and coatings industries.

Barely visible to the naked eye, graphene “holds the potential to become a disruptive technology across all industrial sectors and ultimately,” according to Grafoid.

Financing from SDTC will be used to boost the company’s production “from kilograms to tonnes” at its facility in Kingston, Ont., according to Economo.

Also receiving funding from SDTC is OTI Lumionics Inc., which is developing organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting panels.

based in Toronto, OTI Lumionics will receive a $5.7-million SDTC investment as it builds a pilot production line for its products.

Ranovus Inc. will receive $4.25 million for commercializing technology that streamlines data through data centres reducing energy consumption four-fold, and Kelvin Storage Inc. will receive $2.8 million as it develops a thermal matrix energy storage (TMES) system—which can deliver about 95 per cent of the electrical energy that it receives in the form of thermal energy—to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at industrial facilities around the globe.

According to the company, energy is stored in the TMES module by heating up a large graphite block.

Heat is achieved through electrical resistance heater elements, which work similarly to an electric water heater, which extend through the length of the graphite core.

Kelvin Storage said thermal energy stored in the TMES unit is recovered as needed through the circulation of a proprietary inert gas mixture in a non-pressurized, closed-loop system.

Mississauga, Ont.’s Polar Sapphire Ltd. will receive $2.65 million in SDTC financing as it develops an energy-efficient process to produce high-purity alumina, used in the production of synthetic sapphire.

Also receiving funding is GaN Systems, based in Ottawa, and Ionada Inc., of Concord, Ont.

GaN Systems’ $2.18-million grant will go toward its work maximizing the efficiency of electric vehicle (EV) chargers, while Ionada’s $1.1 million will be spent as it develops an energy-efficient marine scrubber to remove sulphur oxides from ship exhaust.

“In conjunction with Delta-Q (Technologies Corp.), we will develop real-world solutions for electric drivetrains with immediate applicability to a wide range of energy-saving transportation,” GaN Systems president Girvan Patterson said in an SDTC statement.

“The projects announced today are great examples of the Canadian cleantech initiatives and true entrepreneurship that drive SDTC’s portfolio,” SDTC’s Pagel said.

“By supporting these innovative technologies, SDTC is investing in efficiency and environmental performance—which translates into a cleaner environment.”

SDTC this week also announced the opening of its SD Tech Fund and SD Natural Gas Fund to “the next wave of innovative cleantech entrepreneurs.”

To find out more, log on to the SDTC website.

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