Technology and the innovation it helps promote are key to the future of Canada's economy, says the Government of Canada, which is committed to supporting technologies that will advance environmental objectives, create jobs and stimulate growth in the clean tech sector.

Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, this week announced investment of up to $20 million to support clean energy projects at the pre-commercialization stage. This investment, part of a $40-million joint initiative that includes matching funds from the province of British Columbia, will help companies with innovative projects at the prototype, field testing and demonstration stages. Interested parties will be able to submit their applications in early April 2017 to Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

The Minister also announced funding for two companies based in British Columbia that are developing innovations that will lower carbon emissions, build healthier communities and contribute to a cleaner environment. The funding is being provided through SDTC, which works with Canadian companies to bring ground-breaking clean technologies to market.

The investments include a $10-million non-repayable contribution to the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC), a Burnaby-based joint venture with Germany's Daimler AG and Ford Motor Company. Through this joint venture, AFCC is developing new fuel cell modules to be used in automotive applications. This exciting new technology has the potential to reduce the difference in cost between fuel cell and combustion engine vehicles. The project has drawn over $70 million in global investment into Canada, for a total project value of $88 million.

"Demand for automotive fuel cell development is higher than ever before,” said Thorsten Wesse, CEO, Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation. “Fuel cells offer a full-performance, high-range, high-efficiency, zero-emission vehicle alternative to combustion engines. Canada has a strong history of and world leading expertise in designing and manufacturing automotive fuel cells. Continuing to develop and establish roots ensures that Canadians are major players."

The second project is led by Canfor Pulp Products Inc., a leading global producer of premium pulp and paper products that is also one of North America's largest green energy producers. The $13-million non-repayable contribution through SDTC will enable Canfor to further develop and demonstrate a technology that will take what is a currently a waste product from its production processes and develop it into a low-cost biofuels product.

"We have the opportunity to create a truly renewable biofuel that can easily integrate with conventional fuels to dramatically lower environmental impacts. This funding from SDTC provides critical support as we look to operationalize this truly transformative green technology," said  Martin Pudlas, Vice-President, Operations, Canfor Pulp Products Inc.

Canfor's new biocrude could be refined by existing refineries into next-generation biofuels and biochemicals that can be easily integrated into conventional fuels markets.

A focus on clean technology, innovation and growth is a core element of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Through the Framework, Canada will focus on having globally competitive Canadian businesses as the country transitions to a low-carbon economy.

"Our government is proud to support Canadian clean tech and advanced manufacturing companies like AFCC and Canfor,” said Bains. “Through innovation, these two firms will make great advances in energy efficiency, leading to lower carbon emissions, healthier communities and a cleaner environment. Our government will continue to work with partners to invest in clean technologies that lead to better jobs, better opportunities and a better living standard for the middle class."