| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Sustainability : Innovation + Job News

189 Sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All

ZooShare seeks investment to turn waste into biogas energy in Toronto

In 2006, the Toronto Zoo launched a clever initiative designed to turn all the animal dung they produce into a profit: a biogas energy generation facility. But when they launched a request for proposals last summer, they found no partners. The reason, according to Daniel Bida of Regenerate Biogas is that the plans were too ambitious, calling for too large a plant.

So Bida and a host of other community partners stepped in with a more modest proposal for a 500 kilowatt biogas facility to be owned and operated by a cooperative made up of community members. That proposal, formalized as ZooShare received approval in early June and is now seeking investors for its project.

The facility will divert waste from landfill while producing heat, water and usable fertilizer. The non-profit cooperative is selling membership bonds to finance the project that promise a 7% return on investment. Zoo members and those who live within a kilometer of the zoo can invest for $500, while other Ontarians can purchase $5,000 bonds.

Bida says that bond sales await the approval of financial authorities. The co-op plans to offer bonds for sale between September 2011 and May 2012, and to then immediately commence construction on the project. "The reception from the public so far has been overwhelmingly positive," Bida says. "People are attracted to it as an investment, as an environmental project, and as a way to help out the zoo. They just ask, how can I sign up."

Writer: Edward Keenan

Source: Daniel Bida, ZooShare

Eclipsall opens $10 million solar manufacturing facility employing 100

Eclipsall Energy Corporation is scheduled to hold an opening celebration on June 23 for its new $10 million, 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in northeast Scarborough to build solar panels to serve the booming local market in sustainable energy.

Company CEO Les Lyster said last month that the facility was expected to create 100 new jobs in Toronto--a job fair was held in late May to find applicants. Eclipsall was founded in 2009, its launch coinciding with the introduction of the provincial government's Feed-in-Tarrif program that provides significant market incentives for green energy production, especially solar energy, and requires percentages of local production. Fittingly, provincial ENergy Minister Brad Duguid is scheduled to appear at the opening of the new factory and headquarters.

Eclipsall will produce " high performance monocrystalline PV modules in both 60 and 72 cell configurations," and has previously announced a financing program for potential solar energy clients as well as a supply contract with Honeybee Solar. "With the manufacturing space in hand, our vision to become a leader in providing efficient, accessible and sustainable solar solutions is becoming a reality," Lyster said in a statement.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Shaun Markey, Eclipsall Energy Corporation

A.U.G. Signals lands $2.9 million investment in water contamination detection system, will hire 100

Last month, the Financial District company A.U.G. Signals secured an investment of almost $2.90 million from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation's Innovation Demonstration Fund to support its early-warning system to detect contaminants in drinking water. Company CEO Dr. George Lampropoulos says the new technology will lead to the hiring of more than 100 new staff at the company's Toronto manufacturing facility to develop and market the product.

Founded in 1986, A.U.G. Signals is an R&D company that focusses on monitoring and data collection and management whose products have found applications in a range of areas including national defence, natural resource exploration and environmental monitoring. Headquartered in downtown Toronto, the company now has offices in China, Greece and the United States as well.

The provincial investment will support a monitoring technology that Lampropoulos says is the first to provide real-time online reporting on contaminated water in municipal systems. Traditionally, as is the case in the city of Toronto right now, water is monitored by random sampling with report times of up to several weeks, which means that acute threats may not be discovered until after they prove deadly.

The pilot project was first developed in partnership with the city of Edmonton, and has already been deployed in London, Ontario. He says he's going to Beijing this week to negotiate a potential $200 million contract for the system, and is also in negotiations with the cities of Shanghai, York Region and Toronto.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Dr. George Lampropoulos, CEO, A.U.G. Signals

Galloping expansion of Brickworks' green innovations includes new $15m sustainable cities project

Since its opening as a sustainability showcase in 2009, the the 12-acre Evergreen Brickworks has gone from being an abandoned industrial area to becoming one of Toronto's most treasured sites and, according to National Geographic magazine, one of the world's top 10 ecotourism attractions (drawing about 400,000 visitors a year). Last week the facility embarked on the next step in its progress when it drew a $4.75 million investment from the provincial government to embark on a new Sustainable Cities Network initiative.

Evergreen Executive Director Geoff Cape says that the project, which will draw private funding for a total budget of about $15 million, will tie together the parallel agendas of the Brickworks. "We've always thought we needed to be a critical venue for Toronto to explore big ideas for the future of our city and also to be an international venue for showcasing best practices and innovations for green cities around the globe," he says.

The new project will work to further those two missions by being a testing and demonstration ground for a host of new green technologies over the next five years, while also hosting "thought leaders" for conferences and workshops, and will host the 2010 Transportation Expo.

Cape says the project will create a good number of jobs directly, but will have an even bigger impact for the region. "For the regional economy, the development of the sustainable green economy will create tens of thousands of jobs, at least."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Geoff Cape, Executive Director, Evergreen Brickworks

Local solar power companies AMP and Potentia team up to land 20-year school board contract

A contract awarded to AMP Solar LP, a joint partnership between Port Credit's AMP Solar Group and downtown Toronto firm Potentia Solar to provide rooftop solar installations on 450 Toronto schools is "history making," according to AMP Solar Group president Dave Rogers, who reports that his company is honoured to have received the award.

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) representatives, in a release announcing the project, agree, noting that at 66 megawatts, the size of this project makes it the largest rooftop educational solar project in Canada and leads the way for institutional North American projects to come. TDSB Director of Education Chris Spence calls the project "groundbreaking."

The project will retrofit school roofs that are due for repairs with solar panels that will in turn feed into the grid, their energy sold to the provincial electricity provider under the province's FIT program. The program costs the school board nothing, as it is financed through the sale of the energy produced.

Writer: Edward Keenan

Source: Steve Shaefer, AMP Solar Group

$50 million smart grid investment in Vaughan will lead to sustainable energy jobs

Late last month, Ontario Minister of Energy Brad Duguid appeared in Vaughan to announce a $50 million investment in a new Smart Grid Fund that the provincial government says will create jobs and build Ontario's capacity for sustainable energy.

The fund will invest in local projects that either build the capacity of the network or demonstrate a new smart grid technology. "Smart grid" is a term used for a set of technologies that use monitoring and communications to allow the electrical system to run more efficiently and sustainably.

A spokesperson for the minister's office dis provide a specific estimate for how many jobs this investment would create, but noted it is part of a green energy plan that has already created 13,000 jobs and is expected to create 50,000 in total. But the jobs will likely be mainly in the field of engineering and technology, supporting the development and commercialization of new technologies that monitor and manage electrical generation and could include electric car charging stations.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Gloria Bacci, Media and Issues Officer, Ministry of Energy

GTA's Temporal Power secures financing to demonstrate revolutionary green utility tech

Temporal Power, a cleantech company that is a MaRS client based Burlington, secured financing earlier this year to pursue its breakthrough sustainable energy technology that could eventually make green sources of power such as wind a more viable source of electricity.

Company CEO Cam Carver says that the team of four at Temporal Power -- who currently rely a good deal on outside contractors -- now has the capital to pursue "utility-scale demonstration" projects of its flywheel technology. The flywheel allows for storage of electricity for later deployment on the grid at large scale and low cost. Storage has been seen as a key obstacle to full adoption of green energy because of the intermittent nature of generation techniques such as wind.

Carver says that the demonstration projects are expected to be ready sometime next year.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Cam Carver, CEO, Temporal Power

BIXI bike sharing service launches in Toronto with 1,000 vehicles

Toronto got its first bike-sharing service since the closing of Bikeshare several years ago, and the BIXI network -- established in Montreal, Boston, London, England and elsewere -- is offering a bigger, more financially sustainable service. As it launches, the service offers 1,000 bikes available at 80 stations around the downtown core. Members can use bikes for half an hour free of charge, and rent the bikes by the hour, returning them to a docking station when they are done. Non-member rentals are also available for tourists and residents.

The program signed up 1,000 advance members during a drive last year -- a milestone that meant they got a $4.8 million startup loan from the city of Toronto. The company will also rely on corporate sponsorships for revenue. Initially, it was announced that ING Direct would be the sponsor, but it now appears that Telus and Desjardins will have their branding appear on the bike-share infrastructure.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Marshneill Abraham, for BIXI Toronto

$26.6 million metal coating innovation project will see Integran technologies grow from 47 to 67

Integran Technologies of northern Etobicoke is embarking on a $26.6 million research project that is expected to create 20 new jobs at its Toronto facilities, bringing its workforce to 67.

The company is developing an environmentally friendly metal coating for airplanes, cars and other products that is designed to increase durability and longevity. Lighter than existing coatings, it should also reduce the weight--and therefore the fuel requirements--of vehicles.

Integran was founded 10 years ago as the evolution of a former branch of Ontario Hydro. Now a privately held company, Integran has grown from five to 47 employees over the course of the past six years, and has added 12 new employees in the last year alone, since we last wrote about them.

The project will be supported by a $4 million investment from the provincial government. Minister of Economic Development Sandra Pupatello calls Integran "cutting edge" and says supporting them is part of the province's drive to create a globally competitive business environment. Company president Rich Emrich says the investment from the province will help make it possible for the company to "reduce the impact that aerospace and auto sectors have on the environment," while helping his company create new jobs.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Leigh-Ann Popek, Office of the Minister of Economic Development; Rich Emrich, Integran Technologies

Energy conservation drive earns Nitta Gelatin Canada a Green Toronto Award

At the 2011 Green Toronto Awards last week, the energy conservation award went to Nitta Gelatin Canada for its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by conserving natural gas.

The company, the Toronto-based Canadian division of the global gelatin manufacturer, introduced a series of measures (including using larger hot water storage tanks and a direct-fired gas burner) that reduced its gas usage by 3,000 cubic metres per day--which results in a 2,000 tonne reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions.

At the ceremony held during the annual Green Living Show on April 15, Councillor Norm Kelly represented the city in handing out the awards, calling the efforts of the winners "inspiring, and saying, "On behalf of all Toronto residents, I thank you."

Other winners included LoyaltyOne for the Green Business Award, Kraft East York Bakery for Water Efficiency and architectsAlliance for Green Design.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Valerie Cassells, Senior Communications Coordinator, City of Toronto

Toronto Waste Pickup app from Madras Mirchi aims to de-clutter information, reduce waste

Harsha Mohan of new Toronto application developer Madras Mirchi says the company's mission is to create mobile apps that will "serve, connect and share community services" for the people of the Greater Toronto Area. The first app they have launched for the iPhone is Toronto Waste Pickup--a self-explanatory title for a piece of software that gives users schedules and information about when waste is being picked up in their area and what bins should be used and put it out, and sends a reminder when the time to put out recycling, organics and garbage is near.

It sounds simple enough, but Mohan points out by email that the city currently produces tens of thousands of paper booklets and sends them out by mail right now to help people keep track of the complicated collections schedule. "The number of waste booklets that gets printed out each year, can be greatly reduced, so therefore reducing carbon foot print," Mohan writes, and "the flyers and the amount of paper in order to advertise proper waste disposal and collections can be reduced."

The application is selling for 99-cents right now at the app store.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Harsha Mohan, Madras Mirchi

$22.2 million innovation investment helps food manufacturer Protenergy create 60 Richmond Hill jobs

In the seven years since it opened, Protenergy has grown into a private label food manufacturing powerhouse, a major supplier of Tetra Pak soups, broths and sauces. Now a $22.2 million investment by the company will double production capacity, introduce innovative new processes, expand the product offerings and create 60 new jobs at its Richmond Hill facility.

In addition to increasing its production capacity, the company says the improvements to its facility will allow it to produce chunk-style soups in re-closable cartons-- a first for a Canadian company. The changes are also expected to reduce production costs.

Kevin Tracey, Protenergy's president, said the move will also help increase the stringency of its safety standards. He credited a $6.67 million loan from the provincial government for helping the project move ahead.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Kevin Tracey, Protenergy; Tim Weber, Office of the Minister of Economic Development

$7 million clean chemical project by EcoSynthetix will lead to 40 new jobs in the GTA

The clean-chemical innovation company EcoSynthetix will relocate it's head office and research facility from Lansing, Michigan to the edge of the Greater Toronto Area, creating 40 new jobs and driving environmental innovation. The company's move will be supported by a $3 million investment from the provincial government, it was announced earlier this month.

The new 34,000-square-foot Global Innovation and Technology Demonstration Centre will focus on developing and marketing eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum-based products for the global paper industry--an $800 billion industry. The 15-year-old company estimates that the paper-coating share of the market is worth more than US$5 billion annually.

Minister of Innovation Glen Murray said he was pleased the province's investment would help bring the company to Ontario. "EcoSynthetix's technology has the potential to fundamentally change the paper and paperboard industry, and capture a huge share of this $800-billion market while protecting our environment and boosting Burlington's economy," he said in a prepared statement.

EcoSynthetix CEO John van Leeuwen told the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance that the support of both provincial and federal governments was key to the decision to move to the GTA, and that as an environmental innovator, he looked forward to working with the Toronto region's universities.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Office of the Minister of Innovation; John van Leeuwen, EcoSynthetix; Sustainable Chemistry Alliance

Solar Energy installation at Trinity college will fund student aid programs

It was $250,000 in student fundraising that got Trinity College's solar panel development started, and soon they will been giving money back to students as an innovative--and sustainable--source of student aid funding.

The 252 solar panels installed on the roof of the school by a team led by consultant Oxtoby of CarbonFree Technology, which were unveiled last week, are a direct result of a student fundraising drive in 2007 that generated $250,000. An additional $262,000 for the project was provided as an interest-free loan from the City of Toronto. Now that the panels are plugged into the grid, generating revenue for the school through the province's feed-in-tarrif program, the school estimates it will repay those loans in approximately 12 years.

After that, the revenue generated by the panels will be used to fund student aid at the school. They will generate approximately 67,000 kiloWatt hours per year of sustainable energy.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: David Oxtoby, CarbonFree Technoloy

New solar energy partnership for Celestica means 2,300 new jobs

Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Japanese giant Sharp Corp., announced earlier this year that it had signed a deal with Toronto manufacturing giant Celestica to produce solar panels here. The agreement is expected to create 300 full-time manufacturing jobs locally and to further create another 2,000 construction jobs, according to the provincial government's estimate.

Recurrent Energy says the production run, expected to begin this summer, is designed to fulfill the local-supplier requirements of Ontario's solar Feed-in-Tariff program. Provincial Minister of Energy Brad Duguid issued a statement saying this is evidence of how his government's policy is creating a local industry as well as reducing our carbon footprint. "This is another great example of how Ontario is showing the world that we are open to innovative, high value renewable energy projects," he said.

Mike Andrade, a senior VP of Celestica, said in the announcement that the agreement is an example of how his company is "pleased" to help deliver on the employment promise of the provincial legislation, "This agreement reflects the depth of Celestica's solar strategy and is emblematic of our strong capability to deliver innovative supply chain solutions to the solar market to meet the demand for new energy-generation alternatives in Ontario." Indeed, Celestica recently received the "Green Supply Chain Award" from Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Patricia Pytel, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade; Sean Gibson for Recurrent Energy; Celestica

189 Sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts