Ontario Announces 20 Semi-Finalists for Solutions 2030 Challenge

The top eight teams from Phase 1 will be invited to participate in Phase 2 and will be awarded up to $250,000 per team to support costs related to their participation

Today, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) announced the 20 semi-finalists for Ontario’s Solutions 2030 Challenge – a global call for innovators to propose solutions to help Ontario industry reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.

The initiative is part of the broader TargetGHG program, which is delivered by OCE on behalf of the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

A three-phase competition over three years, Ontario’s Solutions 2030 Challenge is designed to identify and accelerate the development of technologies that have a high potential to help Ontario industry meet 2030 emissions reduction targets. The 20 teams were selected from over 160 applicants from around the world, and each of the semi-finalists has accepted an invitation to pitch to an external panel.

The top eight teams from Phase 1 will be invited to participate in Phase 2 and will be awarded up to $250,000 per team to support costs related to their participation.

With up to $7 million in funding, including up to $3 million in support for the winning team to bring their transformative technology to market, the challenge asks teams and industry to collaborate and envision a path forward to tackle climate change in Ontario and around the world.

“The Solutions 2030 Challenge is an exciting and necessary initiative. Local and international interest in this competition is a testament to Ontario’s leadership in the cleantech sector,” says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation. “The challenge’s 20 finalists are on the right course as they pitch their technologies and work towards a sustainable, clean and healthy environment.”

The program aims to meet emissions reduction targets set in Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, while supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the province, facilitating job growth and strengthening the economy.

“Climate change is one of the world’s most pressing issues,” says Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, OCE. “Through Ontario’s Solutions 2030 Challenge, we look forward to working with the province to empower not just Ontario-based innovators, but also those around the world so that we may be able to bring forward technology solutions that benefit our shared environment.”

The 20 teams selected to proceed to the full application stage of Phase 1 of the Challenge are:

  • Capital Carbon Solutions – Canada
    The Capital Carbon Solutions Team is developing a technology to utilize membranes to capture CO2 from flue gas, convert it to fuels and chemicals using a reverse water-gas shift reaction, and hydrogenate it to hydrocarbons using a Fisher-Tropsch synthesis. The proposed project would allow the team to integrate the required technologies and test the proposed system. https://www.tezel.info/
  • Carbicrete – Canada
    Carbicrete is a Montreal-based start-up that offers concrete manufacturers the process, materials and support to make cement-free, carbon-negative concrete. Their process replaces cement with steel slag and cures blocks utilizing CO2, which is then captured in the blocks. This project would allow the team to bring the technology they have been developing in a lab at McGill University to Ontario to develop their first customer demonstration. http://carbicrete.com/
  • Carbon Upcycling Technologies – Canada
    An Alberta- based start-up, Carbon Upcycling Technologies (CUT) has devised a process to produce advanced solid material additives from CO2 emissions and cheap solid feedstock. CUT is the youngest CO2 utilization company to hit commercial revenue and the proposed project would allow the team to develop a reactor in Ontario. http://cutco2.com/
  • Carbon8 Systems Ltd – United Kingdom
    A team based out of Kent in the United Kingdom, Carbon8 Systems has developed a CO2 capture and utilization technology, called Accelerated Carbonation (ACT), which involves the reaction of thermal residues, from large industrial facilities, with CO2 to produce carbonate cemented construction materials. Their proposed project would help Carbon8 Systems bring its technology to North America and experiment with new, unpurified sources of CO2. http://c8s.co.uk/
  • Carbon-neutral Nitrogen Fertilizers – Canada
    Based at the University of Toronto, the Carbon-neutral Nitrogen Fertilizer Team is developing a process for the synthesis of ammonia via a photocatalyst. This technology has the potential to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer production. Research web pages of Fekl (lead) and Wilson (team member): https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/fekl/home and http://www.chem.utoronto.ca/wp/wilsonlab
  • CERT – Canada
    Ted Sargent, a professor at University of Toronto, leads a team of researchers in the development of transformative technologies for energy and greenhouse gas management. Their project proposes to convert CO2 to ethanol utilizing an electrocatalytic process. http://www.light.utoronto.ca/
  • CO2 Solutions – Canada
    CO2 Solutions Inc. is a Quebec-based company developing a novel bio-catalyst technology for the capture and purification of CO2 from industrial sources of emissions. The proposed 2030 Challenge project would develop a mobile prototype that could be moved and operated at an industrial site for evaluation of large-scale project feasibility. http://www.co2solutions.com/
  • CVMR – Canada
    CVMR is an established company with a history of developing technologies for the extracting and refining of metals for the mining and manufacturing industries. Currently they utilize CO2 and/or CH4 as two separate and distinct inputs, for comparative analyses and evaluation of their cost effectiveness, to produce graphene and graphite at an existing proprietary pilot facility in Toronto. The proposed project would be the piloting of a CO2 membrane scrubber technology for the use of industrial stack gas in their existing proprietary CVD pilot plant for the production of graphene and graphite. http://www.cvmr.ca/
  • Marnoch Thermal Power (MTP) – Canada
    Marnoch Thermal Power (MTP) is a start-up company that has developed an advanced low-enthalpy heat to power process technology that uses low temperature geothermal or waste industrial heat to generate mechanical or electrical power via a patented process. The proposed Solutions2030 project would be the development of a next-generation, high-pressure prototype for industrial applications to mitigate/eliminate the energy cost of GHG capture and storage, and an embodiment for compression energy storage. http://www.marnochthermalpower.com/Marnoch_Thermal_Power/HOME.html
  • Nanotek Materials Inc. – Canada
    Nanotek Materials is a start-up at the intersection of new advances in materials science and global business. The company’s first international collaboration is the commercialization of Nano-modified Portland Cement – a chemical additive used during the grinding of standard cement that enables concretes to use as little as 150 kilograms of cement per cubic metre of concrete vs. the standard 350 kg. The manufacture of cement, the glue that holds concrete together, is responsible for nearly 5 per cent of global CO2 emissions, therefore, cutting the quantity of cement in concrete to less than half makes it a significantly more sustainable building material. The project proposed through Solutions 2030 is a first of its kind, North American industrial trial of the technology and is to be launched in Ontario. https://www.nanotekmaterials.com/
  • Opus 12 – United States
    Opus 12 is a start-up founded by a team of entrepreneurs from Stanford University in California. They have developed a CO2 electrolysis technology that converts CO2 into carbon-based products, such as syngas, ethylene, methane, or ethanol depending on the catalyst being used. The proposed project would be the development of a commercial prototype system. The company has validated the technology and has attracted the attention of major energy companies. The founding team was recently featured in Rolling Stone’s list of 25 People Shaping the Future. https://www.opus-12.com/
  • Pyrowave – Canada
    Pyrowave, a start-up company based in Oakville, Ont., has developed a small equipment for plastics recycling to provide low-carbon chemical feedstock to petrochemical producers. Their microwave technology breaks plastic polymer chains down into monomers and polyolefins for the production of new plastics. The proposed project would allow for a demonstration in partnership with a chemical plant in Sarnia. http://pyrowave.com/
  • Shepherdess Biotech – Canada
    The Shepherdess Biotech team is developing a production pathway for biofuel from industrial waste. They have partnered with Ontario start-up Pond Technologies to convert the algae product from their photobioreactors into usable fuels including butanol. The team and technology are based at Ryerson University. http://shepherdess.ca
  • Extract Energy (Smarter Alloys) – Canada
    Extract Energy is a spin-off from Smarter Alloys Inc., a Waterloo- based start-up that has developed a Multiple Memory Material (MMM) technology, which can be integrated into a heat engine to extract low-grade waste heat to produce electricity. The team comprises mechanical, electrical and materials engineers, including Ibraheem Khan, a past recipient of OCE’s Martin Walmsley Award. This project would mark the first MMM technology application for the energy sector. http://smarteralloys.com/
  • Solar Fuels Team – Canada
    Geoffrey Ozin, a Professor at the University of Toronto, leads the solar fuels research cluster devoted to the development of light-powered processes for the conversion of gaseous CO2 to value-added synthetic fuels, via heterogeneous hydrogenation photocatalysis. This project proposes to develop a laboratory-scale CO2 to fuel device prototype, exemplified by the conversion of CO2 to syngas, CO-H2. http://www.solarfuels.utoronto.ca/
  • Solidia Technologies with Lafarge – USA
    Solidia has developed a new way to make cement and, ultimately, concrete building products, which uses less energy to produce and consumes CO2 instead of water. The proposed project would involve the construction of a pilot installation at a site in Ontario. http://solidiatech.com/
  • Team Tandem – Canada
    Tandem Technical is a growing cleantech start-up based in Ottawa. Tandem’s carbon recycling technology captures CO2 from stack emissions at industrial sites and converts it into valuable, non-toxic minerals, used in everyday products like health supplements, toothpaste and green building materials. For this project, Team Tandem will work to optimize its technology on an industrial scale, working closely with a strategic cement partner, a key market with a substantial GHG footprint in Ontario. http://www.tandemtechnical.com/
  • Terrestrial Energy – Canada
    Terrestrial Energy Inc., located in Oakville, Ont., is a vendor of advanced power plants, based on its proprietary Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR®). This technology represents innovation in cost, safety and functionality. It will provide clean and cost-competitive heat and electric power for industry. IMSR® deployment can rapidly decarbonize energy production. Based on proven technology, The IMSR® will be brought to market in the 2020s. https://www.terrestrialenergy.com
  • WatTHERM – Canada
    The WatTHERM team, led by Maurice Dusseault, is based out of the University of Waterloo and is developing a new approach to the use of geothermal energy for locations that are geologically similar to Ontario. The process involves the drilling of very deep wells and seasonal storage of solar energy or excess geothermal energy as heat. This proposed project would pilot the process at an Ontario test site. https://uwaterloo.ca/geomechanics-group/people-profiles/maurice-dusseault
  • Catalytic Innovations – United States
    Catalytic Innovations was founded by scientists from Yale University. The company, now based in Boston, has developed a non-biological, electrically-driven reactor for the production of ethanol from CO2. The proposed project would allow the team to scale up their technology and develop a pilot in Ontario. http://www.catalytic-innovation.com/

For more information, please visit the Solutions 2030 website.


Ontario Centres of Excellence, press release, 2017-12-20.


Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)


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