“Propelling green innovation forward”
With internal servicing to the Cleantech Commons research park site at Trent University in Peterborough mostly complete, a bustling Cleantech Innovation Portal, strong value-adding partnerships in place, and several companies exploring tenancy options, 2022 has been pivotal to Cleantech Commons taking shape as a hub where academic and business interests collide, researchers and companies collaborate, and clean, green, and low-carbon technology innovators and entrepreneurs explore new solutions and develop groundbreaking new technologies.
Taking clean technology innovations to market
The Cleantech Commons Cleantech Innovation Portal, which partners with Urban Living Futures to leverage their UPPlift platform, continued to gain traction as a touchpoint between trailblazing ideas and the market. During 2022, several new value-adding features were added to this collaborative platform.
Over 60 cleantech innovators are currently taking advantage of our portal to connect with commercial developers, city and municipal authorities, investors, as well as program funders, to create opportunities for growth, scaling, funding, and commercial success. To learn more or to sign up for free, click here!
This year, we launched our “People of the Portal” series to highlight innovative and entrepreneurial members and celebrate their outstanding achievements.
Creating partnerships to support innovation and social impact
Cleantech Commons is committed to driving innovation in the green technology sector and transforming these innovations into commercial success stories.
Over the course of 2022, we formalized several key partnerships – each designed to add value to our clients, future tenants, and the emerging cleantech startup ecosystem.
Through a partnership with Bioenterprise Canada, for example, Cleantech Commons is able to offer access to targeted business acceleration services in the agtech and food sectors. Programs such as FoodShift support the adoption of GHG-reducing clean technologies in Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector. Learn more about this partnership, here!
Another key partnership is with GreenCentre Canada. This is designed to support early-stage innovators and accelerate the development, testing, piloting, and scaling of innovative chemistry solutions that advance both the economy and the environment.
Programs such as Advance-ON provide unique, high-value services to start-ups in the sustainable chemistry and advanced materials sectors, driving their early-stage innovations to market faster so their businesses can raise the investment they need to scale and grow. Read more about this partnership, here!
Cleantech Commons also concluded an exciting new partnership this year with Ontario Genomics.
The newly-launched BioCreate Program provides opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises in the genomics and engineering biology space to commercialize their products and technologies. Together with the other program partners, Cleantech Commons is helping participating early-stage companies to bring their innovations to market, faster. More about this partnership, here!
Cleantech Commons and StrikeUP partnered again in 2022 to put women and Indigenous entrepreneurs at the forefront of Canada’s economic recovery. With our vision of becoming a Canadian hub for green technology collaboration, discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship, Cleantech Commons is focused on inspiring young women entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Our partnership with StrikeUp is aimed at providing a forum for growth, mentorship, and financing. Find out more about this partnership, here!
Rain It In
Also refreshed in 2022 was our partnership with Rain It In – a competition that invites post-secondary students to collaborate to solve real-world problems by creating innovative solutions that will mitigate the impacts of intense rainfall events and flooding caused by climate change.
As part of the Rain It In competition, students gain hands-on experience as they research the impact of uncommon rainfall events and the risks of increased flooding. Read more about this partnership, here!
Future Cleantech Commons tenants collaborate with Trent University researchers
Our vision to serve as a catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and knowledge exchange is coming to life through various research partnerships involving our future tenants and researchers at Trent University.
With their own research labs located at Trent, for example, Noblegen Inc. seeks to address food insecurity by making unique protein, carbohydrate, and oil ingredients from a single-cell microorganism, Euglena gracilis.
A Cleantech Innovation Portal member, Noblegen recently received funding through Cleantech Commons partner, Bioenterprise Canada’s Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative Commercialization Stream to conduct market validation and product development research.
Indigenous technology company, Carbonix, another future Cleantech Commons tenant, is collaborating with Trent’s Chemistry department. The group recently filed three patents for a proprietary process to convert large amounts of petroleum coke and boiler char, both of which are typically considered waste byproducts, into activated carbon, which is then used for water purification and accelerated land remediation.
Earlier this year, Carbonix received a $900,000 funding boost from the Clean Resource Innovation Network as one of the winners of the Reducing Environmental Footprint Technology Competition. Shortly after that, Energy Examined profiled Carbonix’s exciting journey solving the challenge of oil sands tailings.
Most recently, Carbonix was recognized as a “2023 ‘Clean50’ company” for its exceptional contribution to the clean economy.
Another future Cleantech Commons tenant, Karbon Brewing Co., embarked on a unique research collaboration with Trent University this year. Together, the parties are developing new green brewing technologies and curricula, while creating hands-on learning and research opportunities for students.
The two organizations just completed their first collaborative research project, looking at how to repurpose brewing waste byproducts, such as brewer’s spent grain.
Fostering relationships in the cleantech ecosystem
We believe that innovation flourishes when part of a supportive and engaged community. This is why we participated in innovation-related events throughout the year. 2022 highlights include:
the Collision Conference, popularly dubbed the “Olympics of tech”, where we partnered with Trent Durham, Invest Durham, and Durham College to build new research partnerships.
- Our ongoing partnership with StrikeUP Canada to advance women in tech.
- ScalingUp 2022, Canada’s annual industrial bioeconomy business conference.
- The MaRS climate impact conference.
- The Ontario Environment Industry Association’s “Environment Industry Day”.
- The Association of University Research Parks’ 2022 “Building Communities of Innovation” International Conference.
Connecting with innovators of the future
We also found new opportunities to connect with innovators of the future. Cleantech Commons executive director, Martin Yuill, gave a guest lecture on research commercialization and scaling for students in Trent’s M.A. in Sustainability Studies program, and Cleantech Commons once again supported the Rain It In Student Competition. Martin also presented a Skills Development Workshop to the university-based teams from the Rain It In climate competition.
Spearheading cleantech innovation on a global scale
Addressing society’s most pressing challenges requires broad collaboration and knowledge sharing. For this reason, Cleantech Commons is an active member of the following groups:
- Association of University Research Parks
- International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation
- Ontario Clean Technology Industry Association
- Ontario Environmental Industry Association
- Clean Resource Innovation Network
- Canadian Accelerator and Incubator Network
- CleanTech North
On behalf of the entire Cleantech Commons community, we would like to thank you all for your support and encouragement throughout 2022.
2023 is set to be an even more exciting year on many fronts. Look out for some exciting announcements!
At Cleantech Commons we are committed to creating a cleantech research and innovation cluster that is built on harnessing the strengths and skills of the local academic, research, and entrepreneurial communities, and which delivers an economic boost to our region, province, and country.
But more than that – we are dedicated to supporting the exciting, optimistic, and sometimes disruptive clean technology pioneers and innovators of tomorrow, especially as they pursue their research and commercialization goals, create strong positive social impact, and bring the next generation of green, low-carbon technologies to life.
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