Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the grand prize winners of the Connecting to the Future, Full Potential and Go High Challenges on March 30 at the GLOBE 2022 Forum in Vancouver. These three clean technology challenges are part of the Impact Canada program, a government-wide strategy to introduce innovative approaches to help solve critical issues facing Canada.
The Impact Canada program
Announced in Budget 2017, the Impact Canada Initiative (ICI) is a government-wide effort that helps departments accelerate the adoption of results-based approaches to generate tangible benefits for Canadians.
The CII promotes the use of a variety of innovative approaches, including challenges. The Impact Canada Challenge platform, a key component of this initiative, allows federal departments to post challenges on a common site and reach a diverse group of innovators and problem solvers.
The Connecting to the Future Challenge
Innovation is the key to improving the electricity system of the future. The challenge was to find breakthrough technologies to develop, maintain and optimize our power and energy systems.
The $1 million prize for the Connecting to the Future Challenge, which was designed to accelerate the development of smart grid technologies in collaboration with the UK government, was awarded to Equilibrium Engineering for its Alba Nova project, launched in partnership with Scottish company StorTera.
By forecasting solar and wind power generation and electricity demand one day in advance using an innovative artificial intelligence platform, this project in the town of Berwick, Nova Scotia, offers a novel smart grid solution that combines energy storage, energy efficiency, renewable energy generation and demand-side management.
This replicable solution will store renewable energy for days when it cannot be generated, providing a benefit to the grid and customers while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Go High!
Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition.
Montreal-basedEnerkem won the $5 million Go High! challenge, which challenged Canadian innovators to develop a cleaner, yet affordable aviation fuel. Enerkem develops and uses advanced biochemical processes to transform municipal solid waste, as well as forest and agricultural biomass, into sustainable chemicals and advanced biofuels, including sustainable aviation fuel.
The Full Potential Challenge
Canadian innovators were challenged to rethink batteries.
Toronto-based e-Zinc won the $1 million Full Potential Challenge prize, which is designed to accelerate technological innovation with the goal of dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the battery sector. The company has developed a revolutionary electrochemical technology to store energy in zinc metal. Its cost-effective, flexible and long-lasting storage solution could contribute to the growth of renewable energy in global energy markets.
Since 2017, Natural Resources Canada has committed $75 million to six clean technology challenges through the Impact Canada initiative.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, said:
“Our government challenged innovators to come up with groundbreaking, cleantech-based solutions to help solve some of the biggest problems facing our country – the challenge has been met. I’m proud to present the Grand Awards for the Connecting to the Future, Full Potential and Aim High challenges to such deserving innovators.”
Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, said:
“Canadian innovators are finding solutions to the world’s biggest climate change challenges, and we are here to support them in this groundbreaking work. Congratulations to this year’s Impact Canada Challenge winners for their achievements in making our living environments cleaner, greener and safer for all.”
Thomas Codrington, British Consul General in Vancouver, assured:
“The UK is proud to partner with Canada on the Connected to the Future Challenge, which supports smart, disruptive energy systems projects to help us meet the changing energy needs of a carbon neutral future. I’m thrilled to see the success of this challenge and to participate in today’s awards ceremony, which will help make a clean energy future possible.”