MaRS program selects “Climate Champions” from across Canada
Ten climate-tech companies chosen for the inaugural “Mission from MaRS: Climate Impact Challenge” aim for massive GHG drawdown
TORONTO, May 27, 2021 – MaRS Discovery District is excited to announce the 10 climate-tech companies chosen for the inaugural Mission from MaRS: Climate Impact Challenge. If the climate solutions from these 10 companies were to achieve five percent global market adoption by 2040, up to 2.4 gigatons of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions could be avoided or captured annually, according to carbon-reduction assessments conducted on each company by MaRS and its partner Rho AI.
“In a world where brilliant science and innovation brought us vaccines within one year to combat the global pandemic, we have a new challenge – to adopt innovations that can save our planet as the world races to bring annual greenhouse gases emissions to net zero by 2050,” says Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS. “No pathways to net zero are possible without massive adoption of these game changing innovations. The technology exists and it works. Taken together, the ventures selected to be part of this Challenge have the potential to make a vast difference, while building asymmetrical economic success for Canada. It is imperative that we help them to deploy their technologies on a massive scale.”
The Challenge is an ambitious program launched by MaRS in February 2021 to address the climate crisis. In addition to identifying and recruiting some of Canada’s most promising climate-technology ventures, the initiative seeks to eliminate the barriers to adoption that prevent such companies from realizing their global potential.
The cohort announced today was recruited to tackle emissions across three key GHG-intensive sectors: energy, real estate, and transportation. Together, these sectors represent at least 75% percent of GHG emissions globally.
Working with MaRS, each company will be supported by a curated team of potential customers, investors, government representatives, and other industry experts who will work to identify and address the market barriers these companies face and uncover opportunities to accelerate their growth.
Carbon Engineering removes CO2 directly from the air, so it can be buried permanently underground or repurposed for ultra-low carbon fuels, chemicals and materials. A single Carbon Engineering facility, which can be located almost anywhere on the planet, has the potential to capture as much CO2 annually as 40 million trees.
Extract Energy produces an engine that can capture low-grade waste heat (an untapped, emissions-free source of energy) for low-cost power generation. Simple in design and small in footprint, the machine enables behind-the-metre generation for industry — manufacturers, food processors, power plants and more.
Opus One Solutions
Opus One Solutions helps utilities by making them more efficient, optimizing the flow of electricity and integrating distributed energy resources such as wind and battery storage. The company’s tech is well-positioned to be the international standard for smart-grid upgrades.
StormFisher recycles food, waste, energy and water to produce renewable gases and organic-based fertilizers. The company diverts waste from landfills, thus avoiding heat-trapping methane emissions; it also converts biogas into renewable natural gas (RNG) for fueling vehicles and heating buildings, repurposing existing current natural gas infrastructure.
BrainBox AI uses AI-driven software to optimize HVAC systems. The tech has the ability to decrease a building’s carbon footprint by up to 40 percent, as well as reduce an operator’s energy cost by 25 percent, without sacrificing occupancy comfort.
Peak Power’s tech reduces a building’s operating costs and environmental footprint while relieving strain on the grid. It optimizes energy use by integrating distributed energy sources (like grid-interactive buildings, onsite batteries and electric vehicles) using an AI-based platform that turns asset portfolios into virtual power plants.
Stash Energy integrates thermal energy storage with air-source heat pump technology to help homes and businesses save on energy costs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels for heating and cooling — all without sacrifice to comfort.
Effenco makes electrification solutions for heavy-duty trucks, reducing emissions by up to 30 percent with its hybrid-electric solution, and up to 100 percent with its fully-electric system. The company’s innovations include wireless charging along fleet routes, and long-lasting storage with tolerance to extreme temperatures.
Flash Forest uses UAV tech, automation and ecological science to reforest ecosystems, with an initial goal of planting one billion trees around the world by 2028. Their technology is faster, safer, cheaper and more scalable than conventional methods, offering a next-generation solution to carbon sequestration.
Pantonium transforms public transit into an on-demand service. Layered over existing infrastructure, the company’s powerful optimization software allows riders to hail buses which, in turn, saves municipalities money, reduces vehicle emissions and increases ridership.
MaRS partnered with U.S.-based data science firm Rho AI to conduct GHG assessments for each company, using the Carbon Reduction Assessment of New Enterprises (CRANE) tool. CRANE is a one-of-a-kind evaluation platform developed collaboratively by Rho AI, Prime Coalition, Greenometry, Clean Energy Trust and Project Drawdown. As an open-access tool, CRANE makes climate impact assessments of early-stage companies less labour-intensive, yet more data-driven, transparent, replicable and standardized.
CRANE assessments of shortlisted applicants were used as part of the selection process. From these assessments, MaRS and Rho AI determined that the GHG reduction potential (avoided or captured) of just the 10 companies chosen for the Challenge cohort would be 426 megatons annually by 2030, assuming each achieved one percent market adoption by that time. If five percent market adoption could be achieved by 2040, the annual reduction potential would be 2.4 gigatons.
“Together, we can make a material dent in global emissions while building back better and stronger for Canada,” says Wu.
Mission from MaRS: Climate Impact Challenge has received generous donations from our founding funders: HSBC, RBC Foundation, Trottier Family Foundation and Thistledown Foundation. Program partners also include Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Peter Gilgan Foundation.
For more information on Mission from MaRS: Climate Impact Challenge please visit missionfrommars.ca
Quotes from our newest partners
“BDC is proud to participate in Mission from MaRS to ensure that some of our brightest cleantech stars have access to the resources they need on their way to commercialization. Our $600-million cleantech fund is helping Canadian cleantech companies commercialize, but we know it takes more than money. Supporting Canadian companies grow and prosper will bring economic growth and job creation, and also play an important role in reversing the climate change trajectory. We are stronger all working together.”
“As one of the largest providers of financial solutions for Canadian cleantech companies looking to expand internationally, we are dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. We are international risk experts, equipping Canadian companies with the tools they need — trade knowledge, financing solutions, equity, insurance, and connections — to grow their businesses with confidence. Underlying our support to the Mission from MaRS program is a commitment to making the world greener, one exporter at a time. We are thrilled to collaborate with the highest potential GHG-reduction companies from the energy, real estate and transportation sectors, and are excited to play an active role to support these ventures internationally.”
“At the Peter Gilgan Foundation, we believe climate change is the greatest environmental, economic, and health threat in human history, but we also know that the net-zero transition is an enormous opportunity for economic growth. Avoiding climate catastrophe and realizing the opportunities requires adjustments to business practices, innovative emissions-reduction technologies, and smart, market-based solutions. We’re excited by the hard-work and foresight of entrepreneurs and visionaries, like those supported by MaRS, who will lead the net-zero transition. We believe technological innovation has always been key to human progress, and so we support projects that are developing, implementing, and scaling clean, green, resilient technology. The Peter Gilgan Foundation has made a long-term commitment to the fight against climate change and we are proud to join MaRS on this mission.”
— Peter Gilgan Foundation
MaRS is North America’s largest urban innovation hub. A registered non-profit, MaRS supports high-growth startups and scale-ups tackling key issues in health, cleantech, fintech and other sectors. In addition, MaRS convenes all members of the tech ecosystem to drive breakthrough discoveries, grow the economy and make an impact by solving real problems for real people — in Canada and around the world.