How cleantech companies in BC are kind of a big green deal

Jun 1 2021, 11:35 am

Written for Daily Hive by Vaclav Vincalek, Founder at 555vCTO

Canada is still more in the “pledging” mode when it comes to climate change. Our international friends are starting to notice we’re in last place when it comes to creating real change.

As I’ve explained elsewhere, if we want to really prepare for our future needs in a better, hopefully, cleaner way, we will need some very impressive technology to do it.

Fortunately for us, there are companies right in British Columbia that are doing exactly that. There are hundreds of cleantech companies in BC that make up more than one-quarter of all cleantech companies across the country.

I looked at some of the most innovative green technology companies in the region and talked to several of these leaders, to see what’s coming online now and in the near future.

A fusion reactor right in our backyard?

Fusion power is one of those technologies that scientists and science fiction writers have talked about for ages. It always seemed 20 years away… until recently.

“This year we will select the site for our Fusion Demonstration Plant,” said Jay Brister, Chief Business Development Officer at General Fusion, which is based in Burnaby.

“We also expect our company to double in size to support the FDP project – we plan to add nearly 100 new members to our team.”

Their next step is to complete and test their FDP to confirm the performance and economics of our Magnetized Target Fusion technology at a power plant-relevant scale.

If it works, this could be a game-changer.

“We expect fusion energy to be commercialized by the 2030s – in time to make a difference in the fight against climate change,” Mowry explains.

“On-demand 24/7, fusion extends the benefits of renewables to meet society’s energy needs to decarbonize.”

Fusion produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. As well, just 1 kg of fusion fuel can power 10,000 homes for one year and replace 55,000 barrels of oil, 6 million kgs of natural gas, or 10 million kgs of coal.

If it goes well, they might just make good on their promise: “Clean Energy. Everywhere. Forever.”

Hydrogen power can put us on the move

Hydrogen-powered vehicles have a bit of a chicken and egg problem. You need the infrastructure that we take for granted with a network of gas stations across the country. But HTEC (Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation) could help with that.

Their recent growth could put them in a position to unlock hydrogen’s potential to reduce pollution and climate change by building hydrogen supply solutions and station networks.

“Growth has been the name of the game at HTEC over the last year, “ says Colin Armstrong, CEO & President of HTEC.

They’ve grown their team by 50 percent and in December 2020, saw a big equity investment to help them meet growing market demand for hydrogen production, distribution, and fueling-station solutions.

“We’re making zero-emission travel and transport possible, by delivering safe, reliable, convenient, sustainable, and low-cost hydrogen to customers and consumers, how, when, and where they need it,” Armstrong explained, pointing to a 2017 Hydrogen Council report that estimated hydrogen at scale could meet 18 percent of world energy demand.

It could create “30 million jobs, and generate $2.5 trillion in sales while helping to remove more than six gigatons of CO2 annually. That’s a huge global impact.”

Which BC cleantech company will save the world? There are a lot of contenders who can help

A new cleantech funding announcement this week from the Canadian government for some BC cleantech companies I’ve had my eye on shows these companies may have real traction:

Axine Water Technologies. $6.2 million for the development and demonstration of a second-generation, digitized wastewater treatment system.

Terramera Inc.. $7.9 million to develop a soil carbon validation tool. They’re known as a global tech leader fusing science, nature and machine learning, aiming to transform the economics of agriculture in the next decade.

BC’s cleantech innovators are doing some amazing work — and if even a few of these companies meet their potential, it will change the world.

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