Canadian Manufacturing

Challenge awarding $15M for emission cutting ideas

Companies to get expert feedback on new products, processes



Canadian businesses with bright ideas to reduce pollution could win $10,000 plus $15 million in financing through a new contest offered by the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, the city’s arm’s-length environmental agency.

Although the concept has to be applicable in the city of Toronto, the ClimateSpark.ca challenge is open to any Canadian company with a product, service or process to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Businesses pitch their concept to the online ClimateSpark.ca community, where they get feedback from investors, entrepreneurs, and other website users. They’re also encouraged to offer insight on other companies’ pitches.

The community votes on both ideas and comments. The number of positive votes a company receives influences whether they move on to the last round, where they will try to sell their polished concepts to a panel of investors.

Julia Langer, TAF executive director, says the online platform is meant to engage companies with scientists, policy makers, and others who can help them refine their ideas.

“GHGs are a complex problem with no single solution, so we need this kind of collaboration,” she said, adding, “whether you’re a bakery, warehouse, transport company, or in the service sector, you have the ability to contribute to a solution.”

One of the most popular entries right now is an energy management system that allows devices to communicate with each other and decide when to reduce peak demand across all controllers.

REGEN Energy, a smart grid technology company in Toronto, came up with the concept, which has applications for equipment in buildings, plug-in vehicles, renewable generation integration, and consumer appliances.

The deadline is Dec. 20, 2010. The second round starts in the new year, with the winning company selected on Feb. 2, 2011.

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