Solar power is one of the most ubiquitous and renewable alternative energy solutions, but the cost of making the silicon chips that store the energy has been prohibitively expensive.
Toronto’s Morgan Solar provides a lower-cost option to get the most out of expensive silicon chips using refractory surfaces, including lenses, mirrors or prisms, that surround the chip and concentrate sunlight on a very small piece of silicon, helping to lower production costs.
Much of the energy produced through electricity goes unused during off-peak hours. Hydrostor has a cheap storage solution that would help make energy grids more efficient.
Toronto-based Hydrostor’s technology mechanically converts electricity (produced from hydro, wind, or other sources) to compressed air for storage in underwater accumulators (balloons) at times when grid demand is low. When energy demand spikes, the weight of the water pushes the air back to the surface, where the process is reversed and converted back into electricity. The company boasts the low cost, environmentally-friendly nature of the process.
How the Hydrostor System Works
Geothermal energy is a long-term renewable energy source. The problem is, it’s a risky and expensive investment. The Calgary-based company is a project manager focused on growing the number of geothermal energy projects in Canada. Its team of experts and consultants help Canadian geothermal companies that have focused on projects elsewhere become major players in the Canadian energy market.
Enhanced geothermal technology drills deep into the ground to harness heat from the inner earth, with near zero emissions. With proper engineering, geothermal systems can run indefinitely. Geothermal has the lowest long-term costs of all alternative energy sources.
Chemical production is usually a toxic and energy intensive process. BioAmber has developed a way to replace some of the man-made materials used in everyday products with plant-based products.
Montreal’s BioAmber Inc. is a sustainable chemicals maker using bio-based compounds to replace petroleum-based succinic acid with one derived from agricultural by-products. Applications include everything from de-icing agents to cosmetics to food additives.
Interview with BioAmber SVP, Babette Pettersen, at the Bio World Congress, May 2012
By-products like phosphates and ammonia in waste water can clog infrastructure pipes, increasing the energy and cost of pumping the water through.
Vancouver-based Ostara has designed a process that removes phosphates and ammonia from waste, then combines them into a premium environmentally-friendly slow-release fertilizer.
Ahren Britton, Chief Technology Officer, Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies
Calgary’s Titanium Corp. could change the way the world views the oilsands, or at least reduce some of the negative side effects associated with the waste by-product tailings ponds.
Its technology removes bitumen, solvents and other high-value minerals at oilsands production sites, keeping it out of tailings ponds, which makes the water easier to recycle for reuse in the extraction process, in turn reducing the amount of water taken from nearby rivers and lakes. The bitumen and minerals are then resold into the market.
Interview With Titanium Corp.’s Scott Nelson
Ethanol is a greener way to fill up a tank than oil-based gasoline, but has traditionally relied on corn and other sources of food for production. Woodland has found a way to produce ethanol using any type of biowaste (mostly agricultural or wood waste).
Mississauga, Ont.-based Woodland produces cellulosic biofuel by tearing wood chips apart and putting them back together to form ethanol, a cheaper alternative to gasoline. It is also a more sustainable way to create ethanol than the traditional method of using food materials.
Woodland Biofuels Moves Ahead Toward Commercialization of Cellulosic Ethanol Technology
Transportation is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
This Mississauga, Ont.-based company’s mission is to make electric powered vehicles a commercially viable alternative to gas with its lithium ion batteries that enable more power to be stored in a smaller space and can be used in various modes of transportation — from cars to ferries. It also builds storage systems for electricity created by renewable intermittent sources of energy such as wind and solar power.
Pictured: Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon after test-driving the Maya, an electric car built by Electrovaya and Exxon-Mobil.
CBC Showcases Electrovaya’s Batteries and Electric Cars
Nuclear energy’s label as a clean technology is a very much disputed one. Though it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases, or pollution, it produces toxic radioactive waste that can be dangerous for thousands of years, or spark a meltdown that would release radioactive chemicals into the air.
General Fusion, based in Burnaby, B.C., is developing a safer process for nuclear energy that uses a fusion process, in which isotopes of hydrogen can be extracted from seawater and derived from lithium, rather than uranium or plutonium. Like nuclear fission, which is currently used, the reaction releases a significant amount of energy, but doesn’t have the potential for meltdown, there are no radioactive by-products and fuel is virtually unlimited.