Sectors to watch
A PRIMER ON THE COMPANIES AND TRENDS SHAPING OTTAWA’S TECH INDUSTRY
The international scope and breadth of Ottawa’s clean-tech sector was what surprised Lily Liu the most after becoming Invest Ottawa’s business development manager for the sector in early September.
“We have knowledge and talent,” says Ms. Liu. “There’s a huge demand in Asian markets, Latin American markets, even European markets. They need our technology.”
That means “clean tech in Ottawa is growing,” Ms. Liu says. “It’s very healthy.”
The sector employs more than 4,600 people who work at some 240 companies.
Access to international embassies has also helped companies take their offerings to the world stage, she says. Meanwhile, exports aren’t just for established companies. Local startups are also looking internationally.
One of the four companies picked for the first cohort of Invest Ottawa’s joint incubation program with China’s Zhongguancun Development Group is a clean-tech startup.
GREenergyTEC has developed a way to “generate electricity from highways … from the vibration of cars,” Ms. Liu says.
She adds that ZDG, which is funded by the Beijing government, will bring GREenergyTEC to China and “help them to explore the Chinese market.”
GREenergyTEC is currently working on a plan to build a 50-metre demonstration road using its technology in Beijing. Closer to home, the Ottawa Centre
EcoDistrict and Windmill Development Group’s plan to redevelop the former Domtar lands on Albert and Chaudière islands will also create opportunities for clean-tech businesses, Ms. Liu says.
Elsewhere in the sector, Ottawa also has expertise in the water treatment industry. One of those companies is BluMetric
Environmental. It’s received contracts to install wastewater treatment systems in the Greater Toronto Area, Kentucky and was involved in a project to expand the Panama Canal.
The publicly traded company’s professional services division has also won contracts to install monitor wells in northern Ontario and assess contaminated sites in all three territories.
Clearford, another publicly traded water treatment firm, is looking even further afield. The Ottawa-based company’s projects include work with integrated sewer and wastewater treatment systems in India and Columbia.
The Carp Road Corridor is home to several water treatment companies as well as a demonstration plant where wastewater treatment technologies can be tested.
Both firms are located on or near the Carp Road Corridor, an area that the city is promoting as a clean-tech hub.
The corridor is home to more than just water treatment companies. It also has a demonstration plant where wastewater treatment technologies can be tested.
There are also opportunities for water treatment companies to conduct pilot projects and validate their technologies in a real-world commercial setting, given that much of the corridor is located beyond the reach of municipal water and sewage connections.
“Clean tech needs demonstration projects,” says Ms. Liu, adding that this contributes to the corridor being a “win-win” for clean-tech companies and helps attract more wastewater firms to the area.