Canadian Manufacturing

Five Ontario post-secondary institutions create cleantech hub

EaRTH District will develop the region's sustainable technology sector through research, academic programming and commercialization of advanced technology.

October 28, 2021  by CM Staff

TORONTO — As the global climate crisis accelerates, Centennial College, University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), Ontario Tech University, Durham College and Trent University have joined together to advance clean, green, sustainable solutions, such as net-zero vertical farming and technology to reverse groundwater pollution. On Oct. 28 they officially launch the Environmental and Related Technologies Hub (EaRTH District) in the eastern GTA region.

Dedicated to fuelling sustainable, resilient communities locally and around the world, EaRTH District will try and develop the region’s sustainable technology sector through research, academic programming and commercialization of advanced technology. An EaRTH-commissioned study projects the district to generate $8.4 billion in total direct cumulative output, $1 billion in taxes and more than 4,000 jobs over the next two decades.

“Given the state of our environment, the situation requires immediate action that can only be solved with the greatest minds working together – which we have right here,” says Andrew Arifuzzaman, EaRTH spokesperson and Chief Administrative Officer at University of Toronto, Scarborough. “Collaboration among the five post-secondary institutions working on solutions amplifies the effort exponentially. It’s time for us to contribute on a global level and EaRTH is the gateway to doing so.”

The consortium seeks to work with the public and private sectors, as well as Indigenous communities, to develop EaRTH District.

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EaRTH District will leverage the five partner institutions’ backgrounds, assets and training in environmental sciences, advanced technology, and related emerging sectors.

Exciting EaRTH initiatives currently under development include:

  • Sustainable farming technology such as Canada’s first net zero vertical farm and off grid farms that would allow for sustainable, local food production. Just one of several urban farming initiatives with the potential to transform food production, access, quality and sustainability.
  • New technologies that will reverse groundwater pollution to increase water safety
  • Transportation sector innovation such as capturing energy from vehicle brake systems to re-charge batteries for hybrid hydraulic heavy vehicles (HHHVs) and hybrid electric heavy vehicles (HEHVs). These new technologies are expected to result in improved fuel economy of up to 70% and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40% for urban driving in HHHVs and HEHVs.
  • Electro-EaRTH initiative: Using bacteria (microbes) to convert biomass-derived waste (paper-making waste, food waste, sewer sludge, etc.) into value-added products, which will be highly beneficial to the biorefinery sector and other industrial partners.
  • Training the clean energy workforce to meet the growing demand for maintenance of net zero homes, electric vehicles and more.
  • Incubating and supporting entrepreneurs and clean tech startups


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