July 23, 2007

SDTC approves $48M in funding for 19 clean technologies in energy, transportation, waste and other sectors

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has approved an investment of $48 million for the development and demonstration of 19 clean technologies. The newly-approved projects target core Canadian economic sectors, including energy exploration and production; power generation; energy utilization; transportation; agriculture; forestry, wood products and pulp and paper products; and waste management.

The private and public sector consortia partners behind the projects are investing an additional $101 million, maintaining an overall portfolio leveraging ratio of more than 2:1 of industry/partner contribution to SDTC investment. Funding for each project is subject to final contract execution.

This marks SDTC's tenth funding round since April 2002. During that time, SDTC has committed $285 million to 125 clean technology projects and leveraged $690 million from project consortia members, for a total portfolio value of $975 million.

In the latest round, SDTC reports an increasing focus on projects designed to address contaminated land cleanup and water quality issues. One project, for example, is focusing on the development and demonstration of a microbial culture technology with the potential to clean up chlorinated solvents (often used in the dry cleaning and printing industries) efficiently and cost-effectively. Another project being funded involves a PCB cleanup technology that could help reclaim lost value in polluted urban land. This would increase the economic viability of the urban site and decrease urban sprawl.

SDTC will launch its next call for Statements of Interest (SOIs) on September 5, 2007. The call will include a request for projects with technologies that address climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil issues. Of particular interest will be technologies that address more than one focus area.

Examples of the latest funded projects follow.

*A consortium led by 3G Energy, of Ottawa, is working to develop an easier installation technique for wind turbines. The current practice of using massive mobile cranes to install wind turbines on steel towers is becoming a limiting factor in the deployment of wind farms in Canada. This is especially the case where small installations and/or remote communities make crane use very expensive or even impossible.

3G and its partners, Frontier Power Systems, FWS Group of Companies and Vensys Energiesysteme GmnH & Co KG, will demonstrate a self-erecting 100-metre concrete tower for wind turbines using a slip-forming concrete pouring technique. The turbine components will be lifted to the top using a special gantry crane system built into the tower.

*Certain processes used in the pulp and paper industry to break down wood are problematic because they result in the release of toxic pollutants in wastewater. AgroTerra Biotech, of Trois-Rivières, Quebec and consortium partners Buckman Laboratories, Innu-Science Canada and Kruger have developed two enzymes able to withstand the harsh environment of pulp and paper processes and replace up to 30% of the chemicals used. Their project aims to demonstrate both the technical and commercial efficacy of these enzymes at a pilot scale. The use of these enzymes could offer multiple benefits, including reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, operating costs and effluent dilution water.

*Biogénie SRDC, a subsidiary of EnGlobe, will develop a multi-technology soil treatment facility which will integrate a number of innovative, adapted, and developed processes for the treatment of contaminated soil, sludge and sediment. This will improve the performance, capacity, and versatility of treatment facilities, enabling them to clean up larger quantities of more diversified and heavily contaminated material and to reduce the use of non-renewable resources.

Biogénie, based in Quebec City, is collaborating with Biorem Technologies, Petro-Canada and Petrozyme Technologies on this project.

*Early Warning, a Montreal company, is leading a consortium whose partners include Conestoga-Rovers & Associates' GAP EnviroMicrobial Services Division, the University of Waterloo, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and the State of Utah Center of Excellence for Biomedical Microfluidics. Their work is premised on the need for frequent, comprehensive testing as a key measure for preventing waterborne outbreaks of dangerous microbial pathogens such as E coli.

The Biothreat Early Warning System uses a nanotechnology-based biosensor to test for up to 100 specific pathogens in less than 30 minutes anywhere, at anytime, automatically, without the use of a laboratory, technicians, or expensive equipment. The consortium plans to demonstrate that a fully automated system will enable water agencies, testing firms, food processors, industrial plants, hospitals, and tourism establishments to detect and contain pathogens before outbreaks can occur.

*NxtGen Emission Controls, of Burnaby, BC is working with Engine Control Systems and Mullen Trucking LP to advance technology to reduce diesel emissions. NxtGen's system uses hydrogen, produced from diesel fuel and engine exhaust, to reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions while enabling engine manufacturers to increase fuel economy. The system components can be retrofitted onto existing diesel trucks or factory-installed on new vehicles. The project involves retrofitting the emission reduction system onto medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks to validate performance and durability in daily over-the-road operation.

*Working in collaboration with Magellan Aerospace and the University of Toronto's department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry, SiREM Canada, of Guelph, Ontario will demonstrate the first Canadian application of a process called KB-1(r) for in situ biodegradation of chlorinated solvents in cold groundwater and fractured bedrock

Tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) are among the most commonly detected soil and groundwater contaminants. To date, other microbial approaches to treating these solvents have had limited success. KB-1 biodegrades these toxic solvents into non-toxic ethene. This demonstration is intended to show that bioaugmentation with KB-1 can be a cost-effective cleanup strategy for PCE- and TCE-contaminated sites, particularly under Canadian climatic and fractured bedrock site conditions.

*Sonic Environmental Solutions, based in Vancouver, is heading a consortium whose members include Maxxam Analytics, Sacre-Davey Innovations, Ontario Realty and Toronto Economic Development. The SDTC-supported project will further develop Sonic's patented PCB Sonoprocess, a non-thermal, mobile technology based on a sodium reaction that uses sonic vibration energy to convert PCB into salt and low-grade fuel. The project will apply the Sonoprocess to demonstrate cost-effective treatment of PCB both in contaminated groundwater and in a solvent generated from a soil remediation process.

*Terragon Environmental Technologies has focused on the waste management problems facing northern communities, tourist resorts and companies in diverse sectors. The Montreal-based firm has developed a micro auto gasification system designed to convert mixed waste into carbonaceous ash and a clean gas fuel which can be used to power the waste treatment system and provide additional energy to the user. Working with consortium partners Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada), Fairmont Le Ch¿teau Montebello, Pituvik Landholding Corporation, the federal Department of National Defence and the U.S. Office of Naval Research, Terragon will demonstrate its technology in a remote community, a tourist resort and on a naval ship, as well as at its own facilities.

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