Canada announces support for innovation in clean technology and sustainable materials

From: Western Economic Diversification Canada

January 15, 2021 – Kelowna, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting a competitive, green economy by leveraging opportunities to promote sustainable technologies. That includes investing in innovation that recycles materials normally thrown away into value-added commodities.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, announced $1.9 million in funding to the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus (UBCO) to develop an innovation hub that will promote clean technologies that convert carbon-based additives and components into new, sustainable products.

Canadians are full of innovative new ideas that will lead to the development and deployment of important new clean technologies. Carbon-based materials have a number of applications, but most of these materials are derived from the mining, oil, and gas industries. Finding new, sustainable ways to create carbon-based materials from recycled products will help Canada lower its carbon emissions and reduce industrial waste.

With this funding, UBCO will work with manufacturing, mining and lumber companies in Western Canada to research how industrial waste can gain a second life as high-quality carbon products. One example is the conversion of carbon collected during the recycling process of heavy industry vehicle tires into battery electrodes that power electric vehicles. These new products have applications in both domestic and international markets and will open up new exporting opportunities for Canadian-made innovation.

Targeted action by the government to mobilize private capital will better position Canadian firms to bring their technologies to market, unlocking both the economic and environmental potential of the growing global clean technology market. This project will build on British Columbia’s reputation as a leader in the clean technology sector. It also fosters a more inclusive economy by creating almost 50 well-paying jobs for underrepresented groups including women, youth and Indigenous students.

Quotes

“I believe in the power of innovation and creativity as positive forces that can be harnessed to tackle economic and environmental challenges. By promoting a sustainable future and a thriving economy, the University of British Columbia Okanagan is aligning this project with the priorities of the Government of Canada. Together, we are showing our commitment to a country that provides opportunities and economic benefits to Canadians, while also ensuring the development of technologies that will lead to a cleaner, greener environment for future generations.”

– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Together, we are showing our commitment to a country that provides opportunities and economic benefits to Canadians…” – Hon. Mélanie Joly

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“We are delighted that funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada will enable the creation of a new cleantech hub at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Our engineering researchers have established cutting-edge procedures for recovering and reusing carbon-based materials that would otherwise be discarded and creation of this new hub will allow us to accelerate work in this area, scale our partnerships with industry, and create technical training opportunities that will accelerate transition to a greener economy.”

– Dr. Phil Barker, Vice-Principal and Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus

Quick facts

  • Established in 1908, UBC is a global centre for teaching, learning and research, consistently ranked among the top public universities in the world. It has more than 65,000 undergraduate and graduate students at its two major campuses in Vancouver and Kelowna.

  • The new cleantech hub will be located in UBC’s Innovation Precinct, a 60-acre collision zone scheduled to open its first building in fall 2021.

  • For more than 30 years, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) has been working to diversify the western economy while improving the quality of life of western Canadians by focusing on business development, innovation and community development.

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