Sec­tors to watch

A PRIMER ON THE COM­PA­NIES AND TRENDS SHAP­ING OT­TAWA’S TECH IN­DUS­TRY

Ottawa Business Journal - Techopia - - Cluster Update - BY JA­COB SERE­BRIN

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.

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