November 15, 2004

Clean technology fund approves $20M for ten new projects

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has approved in principle $20.2 million in funding for ten new clean technology projects. The projects are in turn being leveraged by an additional $60 million worth of investment from other private and public sources. The technologies focus on seven sectors: energy production, power generation, energy utilization, waste management, transportation, forestry and agriculture. Initial demonstrations of these technologies will be carried out in five provinces.

SDTC says this 3:1 ratio of industry/partner contribution to its funding support is clear evidence of industry's commitment to developing technologies which will yield both economic and environmental returns. James Stanford, SDTC board chairman, noted that the latest round of funding yielded "submissions that could substantially advance practical solutions to address air quality and climate change issues. These new projects will also engage most of Canada's primary economic sectors, which are significant producers of greenhouse gas emissions. This funding round has exposed us to new technology areas, demonstrating that there are technology opportunities in the pipeline," he added.

All funded projects must go through a rigorous due diligence process which includes site visits to each applicant location. This gives SDTC a clear understanding of the consortium's value proposition and performance expectations. However, the agency's interaction with applicants goes beyond the screening and selection process.

"Our support isn't just about funding," said SDTC president and CEO Vicky Sharpe. "We help applicants build their entrepreneurial capacity by connecting them with partners along their particular technology's supply chain, clarifying their business case, identifying project opportunities and preparing for commercialization.

"Our approach helps to de-risk clean technology investments so we can attract downstream private-sector investors that then opens up these opportunities for commercial success," she continued. "SDTC and the entrepreneurs it supports are fueling the global clean technology market and thereby showing leadership in this vital and emerging marketplace."

Since April 2002, SDTC has completed five funding rounds, committed $92 million in 47 clean technology projects, and leveraged $268 million from project consortia members. SDTC currently manages $360 million in projects, and is scheduled to launch its next round of funding in early January 2005.

The ten funded projects are summarized below.

1. Alternative Green Energy Systems, of Montreal, is leading a project which will demonstrate a system for converting wet biomass waste materials into usable fuel, providing an alternative to fossil fuel which can reduce greenhouse gases.

The patented AGES/KDS technology, developed by First American Scientific Corp (FASC), will be used to dewater wet biomass waste materials such as pulp and paper biosolids - e.g. sludges and hog (wet bark) - kinetically, without heat, and using less than half the energy of conventional drying systems. The AGES fuel preparation technology enables the combusting or value-added separation of wastes that otherwise carry heavy disposal costs.

Other participants in the consortium include: the University of Toronto's forestry department; UNISO-PMP (Project Management Group); Capitech-Hydro Quebec; Thermix Combustion Systems; First American Scientific Corp (FASC); and a number of host pulp and paper mills.

2. Atlantic Hydrogen, in Fredericton, NB will lead the demonstration of commercially viable grid-connected energy systems integrating Precision H2 Power's Carbonsaver(tm) hydrogen-delivery system with modified internal combustion engines and with Hydrogenics' fuel cell engines. Precision H2 Power's sister company, Atlantic Hydrogen, is advancing the Carbonsaver technology, which offers advantages over existing technologies by producing hydrogen competitively without creating GHG emissions.

While future hydrogen supplies may come from renewable energy and water, it is widely recognized that the transition to a hydrogen economy will depend on extracting hydrogen from fossil fuels. The innovation demonstrated through this project is expected to be of particular importance for its efficacy in distributed power and refueling applications linked to the existing natural gas distribution grid.

Other participants in this consortium include: E-H2; Energy Reaction (McGill University); University of Toronto at Mississauga (Hydrogen Village); the University of New Brunswick; Purolator Courier; Fuel Cells Canada; Hydrogen Engine Center; Fuel Cell Intelligence; and BOC.

3. Atlantic Packaging Products, in Scarborough, Ont proposes to build a demonstration system for creating process steam from paper mill residual biosolids. By generating steam in this way, the system is expected to reduce paper mill consumption of natural gas.

The demonstration unit will use Torftech (Canada)'s patented Torbed(r) expanded bed reactor to process residual biosolids from a 100% recycled fibre paper mill. Atlantic and its consortium associates, Torftech (Canada) and Teng and Associates, believe this demonstration unit will prove the Torftech system a viable alternative to handling paper mill biosolids.

4. Dofasco's Zyplex(tm) Technologies, in Hamilton, Ont has developed a new, lightweight structural laminate with potential to improve fuel efficiency by reducing the weight of motor vehicles. Working with General Motors of Canada, the company aims to demonstrate the efficacy of this new laminate by applying it to vehicle body panels. The project will also assess the savings achieved in automotive applications.

5. Genesis Projects, of Calgary is the lead organization for a project designed to demonstrate the environmental, technological and economic viability of an integrated "biomass-to-renewable-energy ecosystem." Working with agricultural, municipal and industrial partners, Genesis will use a demonstrated technology to replace current manure management approaches, reducing the volume of waste currently going to landfill and to rendering.

The system to be used combines single-phased thermophylic anaerobic digestion, cogeneration, and hydroponics technologies. The project will demonstrate the ability of these technologies to mitigate environmental impact while recovering valuable byproducts in the form of renewable energy, clean water, organic fertilizer, hydroponic cattle feed, and GHG emission reduction credits.

Other consortium members include: Bifano Farms; the North Okanagan Regional District (NORD); FULL Systems; RCM Digesters; and the University of British Columbia. Also participating are CETAC West, Olds Agricultural College and the Aggasiz Research Centre.

6. Great Northern Power, also in Calgary, will collaborate with Powerhouse Engineering and Northland Forest Products to demonstrate a system for economically producing electricity and heat using wood waste. Intended for medium-sized wood-processing operations, this solution is designed to eliminate reliance on external energy suppliers. Benefits include reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and substantial energy cost savings for wood-processing operations.

7. MA Turbo/Engine, of Burnaby, BC has developed a water-injection system for marine diesel engines, achieving significant reductions of NOX and particulate emissions in this type of engine. This project will extend the technology to heavy-duty engines in mobile applications where engine loads vary constantly.

The demonstration will focus on maritime port equipment such as yard tractors, fork lifts and gantry cranes. The company will be working with two other firms, Rival Technologies and Finning Power Systems.

8. QuestAir, based in Vancouver, will collaborate with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, of Annandale, New Jersey to demonstrate applications for Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology, particularly for recovering hydrogen from various process streams in oil refineries.

QuestAir believes that its compact, modular gas purification technology will allow oil refineries to recover and re-use waste hydrogen economically, reducing net hydrogen consumption and its associated GHG emissions. The recovered hydrogen will also help refineries meet low-sulfur fuel regulations.

Although not part of the project, QuestAir also believes the product will provide a platform for other applications such as the recovery of methane fuel from renewable sources such as landfill gas, which can significantly reduce emissions of both greenhouse gases and local air pollutants from landfills.

9. Stantec Global Technologies, in Mississauga, Ont will carry out a three-year, full-scale demonstration of its proprietary Goodfellow EFSOP(tm) (Expert Furnace System Optimization Process) system. This technology has been developed to provide continuous measurement of exhaust gases from electric arc furnaces used in steel manufacturing. The purpose of the project is to apply the expertise and equipment developed for the EFSOP system and to evaluate new optical instruments in other combustion-intensive industries.

The project will involve three industries deemed to be significant contributors to greenhouse gas generation in Canada: basic oxygen furnace steelmaking, cement production, and thermal power. Many other high-temperature combustion processes would also benefit from real-time, robust off-gas characterization and control, both for energy optimization and for emission abatement.

This consortium also includes: Unisearch Associates; the University of Toronto; and the Ontario Centre for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA).

10. Xantrex Technology, in Vancouver, will work with two German firms, Winergy AG and Loher GmbH, to develop and demonstrate a new integrated, variable-speed drive system for large wind turbines (in the two- to three-megawatt class). The system converts the highly variable mechanical energy from the wind into high-quality electrical power that can be supplied to the utility grid. This technology will reduce the cost and improve the performance of large wind turbines, enabling increased adoption of wind power generation.

More information is available from AndrĂˆe Mongeon at SDTC, 613/234-6313, ext 224, E-mail, Web site

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