US DOE Releases Roadmap for Cellulosic Ethanol
GM Board OKs Talks with Nissan/Renault

SDTC Approves C$48 Million for Clean Technologies Funding, Including EVs and Biofuels

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) has approved C$48 million (US$43 million) in new funding for projects that develop and demonstrate clean technologies.

The 22 newly-approved projects target a wide variety of sectors and include the development of an all-electric urban delivery vehicle, biofuels, fuel-cell powered material handling equipment, wind and tidal power generation, and new mining techniques for the oil sands, among others.

The new funding, approved in principle by SDTC’s Board of Directors, brings SDTC’s total commitment to biofuel technology initiatives to C$59 million (US$54 million). Funding for each project is subject to final contract execution.

The private and public sector consortia partners behind the projects are investing an additional C$111 million (US$100 million), representing a more than 2:1 ratio of industry-partner contribution to SDTC investment.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada is a foundation created by the Government of Canada that operates a $550 million (US$494 million) fund to support the development and demonstration of clean technologies.

Some of the supported projects include:

Project All-Electric Urban Delivery Vehicle
Lead organization Unicell, Ltd.
Consortium members ArvinMeritor Inc.; Battery Engineering and Test Services, Inc.; Bodycote Material Testing; Electrovaya Inc.; PMG Technologies Inc.; Purolator Courier Ltd.; Southwestern Energy; Transportation Development Centre
Project Description
Unicell and its consortium partners will demonstrate the environmental benefits and operational advantages of an all-electric, lightweight composite monocoque urban delivery vehicle in typical Canadian operating conditions. The demonstration involves putting a small fleet of the vehicles into commercial use with Purolator Courier in Toronto and other cities across the country. These vehicles will replace conventional gasoline-powered delivery vans, eliminating on-street emissions and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80%. These vehicles will have twice the useful life of conventional vans, leading to further environmental and economic advantages. The project also seeks to demonstrate that couriers using the vehicle will be more productive in their route activities, leading to substantial savings for their operators.

Project Transportable Fast-Pyrolysis System for Bio-Oil
Lead organization Advanced BioRefinery Incorporated
Consortium members Natural Resources Canada/CANMET; Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; Orenda Aerospace Corporation; St. Marys Paper Ltd.; Tembec Inc.
Project Description
Advanced BioRefinery (ABRI) and its consortium partners will demonstrate a 50 tonne-per-day, transportable fast pyrolysis system that converts logging residue including slash and bark into an energy-dense, economically transportable bio-liquid. The system is primarily designed for remote logging sites but has applications anywhere sufficient biomass exists. The liquid fuel will be used as a replacement for fossil fuel in industrial boilers and furnaces. The renewable fuel can also be used to generate electricity via a gas turbine. ABRI will field test the equipment, determine operating costs and establish relationships between feedstock qualities and product energy and chemical values.

Project Production of Cellulosic Ethanol and Co-Generated Chemicals
Lead organization Bio Vision Technology Inc.
Consortium member Coles Associates Ltd.
Project Description
Bio Vision Technology Inc. will demonstrate a unique biofuel pilot plant that converts renewable biomass (plant material) into feedstocks that can be processed into fuel ethanol and other value-added, co-generated chemical commodities. Bio Vision has developed an integrated system with a thermal reactor that uses steam fractionation to hydrolyze lignocellulose. Downstream processes convert the output into marketable products such as fuel ethanol, lignin, furfural and acetic acid. Value-added products such as biodegradable plastics, building materials, specialty chemicals, cosmetics, lubricants, paints, herbicides, and fertilizers can alsobe produced from the feedstocks. Bio Vision’s small scale technology minimizes feedstock transportation costs and makes valuable commodity production possible in rural regions with smaller waste volumes.

Project Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Material-Handling Equipment
Lead organization Hydrogenics Corporation
Consortium members General Motors of Canada; NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc.
Project Description
Hydrogenics Corporation, General Motors of Canada and NACCO Materials Handling Group have partnered to continue their work in the commercialization of fuel cell technology for the material handling industry. The consortium proposes to deploy 19 lift trucks and tuggers outfitted with fuel cell power packs for 24 months at GM’s Oshawa assembly plant. This deployment represents one of the largest and longest-running fuel cell-powered material handling deployments in the world.

Project Production of Bio-Pesticide and Biodiesel from Mustard Seed
Lead organization Peacock Industries Inc.
Consortium members Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Ag-West Bio Inc.; Bio-Green Technologies Inc.; Chemtura Corporation; Eastern Greenway Oils; Innovation Place Bio Processing Centre; Nematrol Inc.; POS Pilot Plant Corp.; Saskatchewan Mustard Growers Association; University of Saskatchewan
Project Description
The consortium led by Peacock Industries aims to co-produce an environmentally-friendly organic bio-pesticide and biodiesel from mustard seed. The bio-pesticide is made from food quality materials and is safe to both humans and the environment. The product is used to control nematodes and fungi, and will be sold also as a product to enhance plant growth and improve soil quality.

Project Wind Turbines with Hydraulic Drive Systems
Lead organization Wind Smart Inc.
Consortium members Allen R. Nelson Engineering Inc.; Cavendish Investing Inc.; Denison Hydraulics Jones Engineering Group; Western Wind Energy
Project Description
Wind Smart and its partners are developing a new drive system for wind turbines that will increase power generation compared with gear-driven assemblies while reducing maintenance costs. Unlike conventional models, the motor and generator will be situated at ground level. The system will replace the gearbox presently employed on wind turbines with a hydraulic motor to drive a hydrostatic pump. This will drive a synchronous generator, which in turn will generate power directly into the grid. The system will enable the capture of more wind energy over a wider wind speed range, using the same turbine. A key innovation is the ability to control the hydrostatic drive unit and to prevent over-speeding of the wind turbine. This application is designed for wind turbines up to 1.5 MW with standard off-the-shelf components.

Project Tidal Power Project with Vertical Axis Turbine
Lead organization New Energy Corporation Inc.
Consortium members Canoe Pass Tidal Energy Corp.; Focus Environmental
Project Description
New Energy Corporation and its partners have teamed together to demonstrate tidal power generation on British Columbia’s west coast. The project consists of installing up to 500 kW of power-generating capacity in a narrow channel between Maude Island and Quadra Island, adjacent to Seymour Narrows, near Campbell River, BC. The technology to be demonstrated is New Energy’s EnCurrent vertical axis turbine, which employs vanes mounted parallel to a vertical shaft to extract energy from a moving stream of water regardless of its direction.

Project Oil Sands Mining Technology
Lead organization TSC Company Ltd.
Consortium member Deer Creek Energy Limited
Project Description
TSC and Deer Creek Energy will demonstrate a novel oil sands mining technology that will significantly increase the rate of bitumen recovery, reduce water usage from the Athabasca River system and, through the recycling of process water, reduce energy requirements and the need for tailings ponds. The project involves constructing and operating a pilot plant to test TSC’s bitumen extraction and tailings management systems, and prove the technology’s effectiveness for use on a commercial scale.



Now that is how you are supposed to execute: Multiple projects all at the same time to find out which one holds the most promise and best viability rather than let lobbyists force you to concentrate on one corny idea.


Sounds like a lot of projects for only 48 Mil. But then hopefully these projects won't suffer from the $200 hammers that many US project get stuck with.

Rafael Seidl

It seems a little incongruous that any taxpayer money for "clean technologies" should be spent on oil sands mining - definitely not a clean industry. Given the enormous profits it is generating, simple regulation ought to suffice to get it to clean up its act.

The other project look more worthwhile to me. What is unclear is if SDTC simply doles out the money upon completion of negotiated milestones (a fond perdu) or, if it receives shares and revenue as a VC would. The latter would seem to be a fairer deal for Canadian taxpayers. It's also unclear from the above article if the grant approvals process is vulnerable to corruption.

Btw, EU grants to public-private research consortia follow much the same pattern as the SDTC, with similar caveats.

Contrast that with full-fledged VC financing: averaged over a long enough period, this has generally achieved much higher returns on investment, especially in Northern California.


No real surprise that there is money in here for Oil Sands research. The conservative government of Canada relies heavily on Alberta votes and Oil money. One of the barriers to more activity in the oil patch is water supplies.

Harvey D.


Your comments are very pertinent.

It is inappropriate to use tax payers money for oil sand research when the oil industries involved are making huge profits. However, the objective is worthy. This is nothing new in Canada since the oil industries are already receiving about $1.5 billion a year in direct and indirect federal government subsidies.

The Canadian government rarely, (if ever) gets returns on government research projects. Joint projects is a way to reduce government participation (cost) while ensuring a wider participation and a better technology transfer to industry.

Even with all the potential shortcomings, the SDTC approach is a good way to funnel research funds.


The tidal power project looks interesting. I know that area well ... there are some wicked currents in that area. What makes it interesting is that the project does not involve damming off an inlet or cove to the get the power (environmentally very ugly). I just hope the concept will have little effect on the salmon (yummy) that go through that pass.


Can anyone find any more info on the hydraulic drive system for wind turbines from Smart Wind? I can't find a corporate website for Smart Wind or any mention of their product with a couple quick Google searches. If anyone can find any leads on this new product, I'd appreciate an email with the links.

Rafael Seidl

Jesse -

the company you're looking for is called Wind Smart Inc., based in Edmonton, Alberta. They must be very small and/or new to not even have a web site yet. I'm surprised they got a grant without one.

The system sounds straightforward enough, hydrostatic transmissions with intercoolers were standard on open pit mining trucks before their manufacturers (e.g. Liebherr) cut over to serial electric hybrids. Speed adaptation is via the wobble-plate angles in the hydrostatic pump and motor. Note that the third option, belt-driven CVTs, cannot (yet) support multi-megawatt power flows.

For a stationary wind turbine, it's important to feed clean sinusoidal current into the 60Hz grid, which is most easily accomplished by letting the generator rotate at a constant speed of 3600 RPM electrical (divide by n=1..N pole pairs for mechanical RPM), thus avoiding harmonics which are difficult to filter out even with advanced (read: expensive) power electronics. You want to spend your money on large composite turbine blades and keep the rest of the design cheap.

One advantage with hydraulics is that you can easily pair a vertical axis wind turbine (inherently independent of wind direction) with a horizontal generator configuration. This is attractive for exposed hilltop locations. A skillful architect could even place one on top of a high-rise tower, effectively increasing its height (and associated bragging rights).

Regardless of turbine type, hydraulic transmission also gives you the option of deploying multiple generators per turbine, or multiple turbines per generator, to optimize the layout.

Moreover, you could use large hydraulic accumulators to ride out gusts in stormy weather. These are much cheaper than banks of batteries. Current wind turbine designs usually require idling the unit in such conditions, to avoid feeding harmonics into the grid. Accumulators could be embedded in the foundation, which is otherwise just a huge block of concrete.

Bryan Bondy

Good morning,

I am not sure as to who I should be writing this letter to so I shall start here. I am wondering who it is I should contact to discuss the possibility to do some contract work for the Canadian government. The company that I own is a hydraulic/pneumatic firm that builds custom units for all sorts of large and small OEM and end users. Rush Hydraulic Pneumatic Inc. has been in business for almost 25 years with an impeccable reputation and would now like the opportunity to bid on contracts for the Canadian Government. Could you please point me in the right direction to do this.

Bryan Bondy,
Rush Hydraulic Pneumatic Inc.

Confidentiality Notice:
This E-mail message (including attachments, if any) is intended for the use
of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain
information that is privileged, proprietary, confidential and exempt from
disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that
any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is
strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error,
please notify the sender and erase this E-mail message immediately.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)