April 12, 2004

TPC investments will advance clean energy, improve water, waste treatment processes

Four investments by Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) totalling more than $27.5 million will be used to help further improve leading-edge water and wastewater technologies, develop enabling technologies to support increased use of green energy, and develop a process for recycling hazardous heavy metal wastes from the steel industry. The projects being supported have a combined value of more than $91 million.

Trojan Technologies, in London, Ont is receiving a $9.36-million TPC investment to help the company refine its ultraviolet (UV) light-based water purification systems. Trojan is undertaking a $31.2-million research and development project to refine its purification technology to destroy toxic chemicals and pathogens, and to improve its energy efficiency.

Similarly, a $9.2-million TPC investment will help Zenon Environmental, in Burlington, Ont complete a $30.6-million project aimed at producing an affordable, robust and reliable water filter membrane to help smaller communities supply safe drinking water to rural and remote areas.

A third TPC investment of $7.2 million will help Xantrex Technology, of Burnaby, BC produce technologies that will support and encourage the development and application of green energy. The company is working on a $24-million research and development project aimed at improving performance and reducing the capital and operating costs of renewable and clean energy technologies.

Xantrex Technology specializes in the development, manufacturing and marketing of advanced power electronic products and systems for the distributed, mobile and programmable power markets. Its products convert raw electrical power from any central, distributed or backup power source into high-quality power required by electronic and electrical equipment.

The next generation of advanced power electronics being developed by Xantrex will convert raw power from green electrical sources into a form that can be used by standard electrical appliances.

Electricity produced through green power generation is often not compatible with consumer needs. Voltage level, stability, current type and level of reliability must be satisfactory for practical use. This technology will address these concerns by regulating the amplitude, frequency and current flow, as needed. In turn, this will support the incorporation of alternative energy sources into the power generation mix.

Finally, TPC is investing $1.8 million in a $5.6-million project being undertaken by Fermag, a Montreal company, to design, develop and demonstrate a pre-commercial pilot scale process for the hydrometallurgical treatment of hazardous ashes produced by the steel industry.

This project will develop a pre-commercial pilot recycling facility to extract and recycle ferrite and magnetite pigments from the flue dust, which can be re-sold as cement additives and pigments to the paint and coating industry. Using hydrometallurgy, this processing will leave behind lead and zinc - heavy metals with commercial value that can also be sold to lead and zinc smelting operations. By providing cost savings to the steel industry and by reducing hazardous waste, the project will yield both economic and environmental benefits.

"Our technology will change the way the steelmaking industry handles its waste as well as its impact on our environment," said Louis Archambault, President of Fermag Inc. "Through this new process, we will be able to turn a significant quantity of hazardous waste into a reusable, commercially viable resource, thereby contributing to the sustainability of the steel industry in Canada and protecting our environment."

"The successful development of this technology will result in both economic and environmental benefits," said Barry Lacombe, President of the Canadian Steel Producers Association. "Recovering useful compounds from arc furnace dust allows us to convert a waste into a source of revenue for waste treatment companies like Fermag, while reducing landfilling and contributing to sustainable resource use."

Technology Partnerships Canada is a special operating agency of Industry Canada, with a mandate to provide funding support for strategic research and development, and demonstration projects that will produce economic, social and environmental benefits for Canadians.

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