Clean tech­nol­ogy

Ottawa Business Journal - Techopia - - Cluster Update - Marc Mcarthur Man­ager, Ot­tawa Clean­tech Ini­tia­tive

Marc McArthur heads Ot­tawa’s Clean­tech Ini­tia­tive, which has iden­ti­fied four sub­sec­tors, or “ ver­ti­cals,” pre­sent­ing the great­est com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties: con­vert­ing waste resid­u­als to en­ergy, green build­ings, ICT ap­pli­ca­tions and water tech­nolo­gies.

Waste to en­ergy

Three of Ot­tawa’s top clean-tech em­ploy­ers are in­volved in gen­er­at­ing power from un­con­ven­tional sources. Plasco’s gasi­fi­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy uses mu­nic­i­pal solid waste, Io­gen

Corp. turns straw and agri­cul­ture waste into ethanol, and En­syn Corp. pro­duces liq­uid fuel from forestry waste.

“ These com­pa­nies are world-class in their spe­cific ver­ti­cals,” says Mr. McArthur, not­ing they’ve forged al­liances with some of the world’s largest firms. En­syn, for ex­am­ple, works with UOP, a Honey­well com­pany, and Io­gen is a de­vel­op­ment part­ner of Royal Dutch Shell.

Ot­tawa’s ge­og­ra­phy gives the re­gion an ad­van­tage in this sec­tor. Its ur­ban cen­tre sup­plies Plasco with mu­nic­i­pal waste for its demon­stra­tion fa­cil­ity on Trail Road, while the sur­round­ing ru­ral ar­eas pro­vide other forms of al­ter­na­tive fuel.

“ We have the real op­por­tu­nity to be the best … We can be the No. 1 re­gion in the world in the con­ver­sion of resid­u­als to en­ergy,” says Mr. McArthur.

Green build­ings

Ot­tawa firms ben­e­fit from the pres­ence of a pair of build­ing tech­nol­ogy re­search fa­cil­i­ties that are unique in Canada and the world. The National Re­search Coun­cil Canada’s In­sti­tute for Re­search in Con­struc­tion and Nat­u­ral

Re­sources Canada’s Can­metEN­ERGY both at­tract con­sid­er­able tal­ent to the re­gion.

Prof­it­ing from this ex­per­tise takes en­gi­neer­ing and project man­age­ment abil­i­ties, which can be found in com­pa­nies such as Wind­mill De­vel­op­ment Group, a leader in green build­ing con­struc­tion, and DAC In­ter­na­tional, which exports high-per­for­mance pre-en­gi­neered homes. On the en­gi­neer­ing side, firms such as

Golder As­so­ci­ates and Stan­tec both have a sig­nif­i­cant lo­cal pres­ence.

“Some of our ex­per­tise doesn’t have Ot­tawa ori­gins, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have that ex­per­tise here,” says Mr. McArthur.

Con­ver­gence of ICT and clean tech

Ot­tawa’s in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy base is build­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of smart en­ergy grids and au­to­mated build­ing so­lu­tions.

Tri­acta pro­duces hy­dro sub­me­ters for multi-ten­anted build­ings, al­low­ing util­i­ties to bill each user in­di­vid­u­ally. Em­pow­er­ing and pro­vid­ing additional in­for­ma­tion to tenants typ­i­cally re­sults in a drop in power con­sump­tion, says Mr. Mcarthur.

Other firms to watch in­clude En­er­gate, which de­vel­ops sys­tems that al­low home heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems to com­mu­ni­cate with the user and util­ity to bet­ter man­age en­ergy use, and smart-grid spe­cial­ists Grid­point.

On the re­search front, the National Re­search Coun­cil Canada is de­vel­op­ing build­ing per­for­mance soft­ware that re­duces en­ergy con­sump­tion. For ex­am­ple, by equip­ping em­ploy­ees with ra­dio fre­quency iden­ti­fi­ca­tion tags, build­ing sys­tems can light the path the in­di­vid­ual is most likely to take, rather than il­lu­mi­nat­ing the en­tire build­ing.

Water

While there are many al­ter­na­tive sources of elec­tric­ity, there is no sub­sti­tute for clean water. The in­creased preva­lence of ex­treme weather is in­creas­ing the de­mand for water treat­ment

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