Toronto-based Start-up turning food waste into textiles

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A Toronto-based cleantech start-up, ALT TEX, has developed a technology that turns food waste into textiles.  The company claims that it creates the  world’s most sustainable polyester alternative from food waste using a three-step process.

The company’s novel bio-polymer technology re-engineers sugars extracted from the food waste into high performance, polyester-like fibres and fabrics for sustainable fashion brands. The closed-loop alternative is aimed to replace polyester, which makes up over 60% of textile manufacturing. The closed loop technology allows the companyto do this at a competitive price to other sustainable options, and without sacrifice to performance.

The company recently raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed round of funding. The round was co-led by Garage Capital and Amplify Capital, with participation from Globalive Capital, Panache Ventures, Ramen Ventures, Spacecadet Ventures, and Presstar. Astronaut Chris Hadfield also invested in the round, as did University of Toronto business professor Ajay Agrawal.

The company was founded in 2019 by Myra Arshad and Avneet Ghotra.  Ms. Arshad is a business school graduate and serial entrepreneur.  Ms. Ghotra is a biochemist.   “This industry has always been close to me given my family’s background in this space, but the level of customer, investor and general stakeholder interest we have received really validates that the environmental and ethical problems are also becoming personal to the general population,” said Arshad.

“We essentially take one of the world’s largest landfill contributors, which is food waste, and we convert it into what we believe will be the world’s most sustainable polyester alternative,” stated Myra Arshad in an interview with National Observer.

The recent infusion in capital allowed the company to buy a key piece of machinery (a polyester melt extruder), secure more space, and start paying themselves.

“We want to take this global because we truly believe this technology can effectively replace polyester,” Arshad said in a video interview with the National Observer, noting the source fibre they create could be turned into textile on the existing equipment for the fossil fuel-based version, meaning, “this should not be a premium product for a very, very long time.”

 

Calgary-based Atco Energy Solutions to use organic waste to produce RNG

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Calgary-based Atco Energy Solutions recently announced the construction of a new facility that will use the byproducts from organic waste to produce renewable natural gas (RNG).

The facility, a first for the Calgary-based company, will be built north of Vegreville, Alta. and should be up and running by late 2022. It will process agricultural manure and other organic waste products from nearby municipalities, harvesting the methane emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.

The facility will also produce fertilizer as a byproduct, to be used by local farmers. Vegreville-based biofuels company Future Fuel Ltd. will partner with Atco to develop the project.

Mike Shaw, senior vice-president for Atco Energy Solutions, said the facility will be one of the largest renewable natural gas facilities in Canada once completed. He said it will produce enough natural gas to heat 2,500 homes per year and reduce carbon emissions by 20,000 tonnes annually.

While the Vegreville facility will be Atco’s first renewable fuels project, Shaw said it is in the process of developing others in order to help meet its climate change and sustainability targets. Renewable natural gas can be produced from a variety of feedstocks, including residential and commercial organics, waste from water treatment plants, and landfill waste. It can be injected into the existing natural gas grid just like conventional natural gas.

“This facility is an important investment in the advancement of ATCO’s clean fuels strategy,” said Bob Jones, President, ATCO Energy Solutions.  “ATCO is leading the shift to a lower-carbon energy system by enabling our customers’ energy transition to cleaner fuels such as renewable natural gas and hydrogen. We are actively investing in sustainable energy projects – here in Alberta and globally – in an effort to decarbonize the way we live and work, in support of a safe, reliable, affordable and cleaner energy future.”

Brian Nilsson, Director at Future Fuel, stated at the news conference, “We are pleased to announce our partnership with ATCO Energy Solutions to recommission and repurpose an idle biogas asset in Two Hills County. This project adds organics processing facilities in the Capital region, offering a solution to both municipalities and the confined feeding industry for organics processing and emissions reductions. We look forward to continued cooperation with ATCO Energy Solutions and Emissions Reduction Alberta.”

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) has committed $7.9M to the project through its Natural Gas Challenge. This investment comes from the Government of Alberta and is sourced from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) fund.

Ontario and B.C. Governments Show Commitment to Expansion of Renewable Natural Gas Generation

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Ontario

The Ontario government recently announced new rules related to biogas that are designed to create new ways for farmers to expand the emerging biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG) market in the province, creating economic opportunities while maintaining the province’s strict environmental protections.

There are approximately 40 agri-food anaerobic digesters in the province; located mostly on farms.  The regulation changes will enable new on-farm biogas systems and expansion of existing systems to be approved more easily and at a lower cost to help ensure that Ontario continues to be a biogas sector leader in Canada. The changes will also help reduce GHG emissions by diverting waste from landfills and by encouraging production of RNG. The regulation changes will enable Ontario’s $35 million-a-year biogas sector to grow by up to 50 percent over the next five years.

“By reducing regulatory burden for on-farm anaerobic digesters, we can provide economic solutions to divert more valuable food and organic waste from landfills, while maintaining environmental protections by encouraging the recycling of nutrients and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We’re saving farm businesses time and money to allow them to grow untapped economic opportunities and take advantage of the emerging renewable natural gas market.”

Using farm waste to generate renewable natural gas is win-win for farmers and the environment: not only does it give farmers the opportunity to use materials that would otherwise go to waste, they are also able to reduce their carbon footprint,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Importantly, these changes include new requirements to better safeguard the environment and human health – helping to ensure that economic growth doesn’t come at the expense of environmental health.”

“StormFisher and the Ontario Government share a vision of an Ontario with less waste going to landfills, more clean energy being created here at home, and more jobs and investment in rural Ontario. The changes announced today regarding on-farm anaerobic digestion will help with all of these goals,” said Brandon Moffatt, Vice President of Development, StormFisher. “The agricultural industry plays a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The conversion of manure and other agricultural materials to renewable natural gas is a great step forward that will lead to significant economic development in rural Ontario and will support our farmers in diversifying their revenues.”

Changes to regulations under the Nutrient Management Act will create more opportunities for farmers to treat on-farm materials as well as other types of off-farm food and organic waste materials in on-farm regulated mixed anaerobic digestion facilities. This will enable an increase in on-farm production of biogas to generate renewable natural gas and will provide Ontario farmers with a new source of on-farm income.

British Columbia

British Columbia recently amended the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation (GGRR) to increase the production and use of renewable gas, as well as green and waste hydrogen in the province. BC is the first province in Canada to make these changes allowing for the increased production of renewable gas. The GGRR allows utilities like FortisBC and Pacific Northern Gas to make time-limited investments, within spending and volumetric caps, to stimulate the domestic market for renewable gases and reduce GHG emissions.

“A key part of our CleanBC strategy is increasing the use of hydrogen and other renewable gases in place of fossil fuels in vehicles, buildings and industry,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “The changes we’ve made to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation will provide natural gas utilities with more flexibility, stimulate investments in renewable energy and accelerate growth of hydrogen and renewable gas supply in their systems, while keeping rates affordable for their customers.”

“Changes to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation are important to accelerate the growth of B.C.’s renewable gas supply,” said Roger Dall’Antonia, president and CEO, FortisBC. “By increasing the renewable gas cap and expanding the regulation to include other renewable gases, such as hydrogen, we’re entering an exciting new phase of renewable energy development that will accelerate the transformation of our natural gas infrastructure into a delivery system for carbon-neutral energy.”

The amendment to the GGRR will enable utilities to increase the amount of RNG, green and waste hydrogen, and other renewable energy they can acquire and make available to customers, and help the province to achieve its CleanBC objectives, which commit to a 15% renewable gas content in the natural gas system by 2030.

15 Municipalities Participating in the Canadian Circular Cities and Regions Initiative

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The Circular Cities & Regions Initiative (CCRI) is a one-year pilot created and developed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund, the National Zero Waste Council, the Recycling Council of Alberta and RECYC-QUÉBEC to advance circular economy knowledge sharing and capacity building in Canadian cities and communities of all sizes.

Through direct support and guidance locally focused to their needs, and access to a peer network that will encourage and foster collaboration amongst participants, those taking part in CCRI will:

  • learn how to get started and to embed circular economy approaches in their respective communities,
  • access one-on-one mentoring, support and advice in the development of their local circular economy roadmap,
  • identify benefits to the members of their communities, challenges to overcome and opportunities during this transition,
  • collect lessons learned and best practices to support the future transition of other cities and regions to a circular economy,
  • and more.

Fifteen local governments have been selected to participate in the Canadian Circular Cities & Regions Initiative’s (CCRI) Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Network, designed to promote job creation and sustainable practices in the post-pandemic economy. The following local governments are part of the CCRI P2P Network:

  • Calgary (AB)
  • Canmore (AB)
  • Chapais (QC)
  • Gatineau (QC)
  • Mississauga (ON)
  • Montréal (QC)
  • Nanaimo (BC)
  • New Glasgow (NS)
  • Region of York (ON)
  • Richmond (BC)
  • Saskatoon (SK)
  • Sherbrooke (QC)
  • St. John’s (NL)
  • Vancouver (BC)
  • Whitehorse (YK)

Accelerating the transition to a circular economy is recognized as an opportunity for new jobs and environmental sustainability — at a time when governments and communities are in critical need of both. As the Canadian economy rebounds from the COVID-19 downturn, the circular economy provides a framework for achieving climate action commitments and nurturing a prosperous and equitable future for residents and businesses.

In a news release, Joanne Vanderheyden, President, FCM stated; “Municipalities want new models of economic practices that are efficient, better balanced, sustainable, and local. The circular economy is a key part of the solution.”

A series of national webinars is being hosted throughout the year to profile leading examples from within Canada and abroad. Webinars are open to the public and delivered in English with French simultaneous interpretation. Registration is available online.

 

Toronto Cleantech Capital Inc. Announces Closing of Initial Public Offering

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Toronto Cleantech Capital Inc. (TSXV: YAY.P) (“TCTC” or the “Corporation”) recently announced that it has successfully completed its initial public offering of 2,500,000 common shares of the Corporation (“Common Shares”) at a price of $0.10 per Common Share for gross proceeds of $250,000 (the “Offering”). After completion of the Offering, the Corporation now has 11,500,000 Common Shares issued and outstanding.

The President, Chief Executive Officer of Toronto Cleantech Capital Inc. is James Sbrolla, a well-known cleantech expert and entrepreneur.  The Board of Directors of the Corporation include seasoned cleantech professionals experts in business and finance.

Leede Jones Gable Inc. (the “Agent“) acted as the agent for the Offering and in connection therewith, the Corporation granted the Agent non-transferable warrants (the “Agent’s Warrants“) which entitle the Agent to purchase up to 200,000 Common Shares at an exercise price $0.10 per Common Share. The Agent’s Warrants will expire 24 months from the date the Common Shares were listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (the “Exchange“), which was June 30, 2021. In connection with the Offering, the Agent also received a cash commission equal to 8.0% of the gross proceeds of the Offering, a corporate finance fee, and was reimbursed for its legal fees and reasonable expenses.

Concurrent with the closing of the Offering, the Corporation also granted options to acquire an aggregate of 950,000 Common Shares at an exercise price of $0.10 per Common Share to directors and officers of the Corporation, which options expire five years from the date of grant.

The Corporation is a “capital pool company” and intends to use the net proceeds of the Offering to identify and evaluate assets or businesses for acquisition with a view to completing a “Qualifying Transaction” under the policies of the Exchange. On June 28, 2021, the Exchange issued a bulletin listing the Common Shares as of market open on June 30, 2021, and immediately halting trading pending completion of closing (the “Exchange Bulletin“). The Common Shares are anticipated to resume trading under the trading symbol “YAY.P” on July 6, 2021.

Investors are cautioned that trading in the securities of a capital pool company should be considered highly speculative.

For further information, please contact:

Toronto Cleantech Capital Inc.
James Sbrolla – President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director

(416) 828-2077
Email: [email protected]

 

Fun with Waste: Plastic Pollution Anthem

Mukuru based artist Eleanor/ Igwe Ke/Nelmo Newsong/ Fralee Bolo recently joined forces to create a music video to talk about plastic pollution under the Sustainable Transitions to End Plastic Pollution (STEPP) project. STEPP Sustainable Transitions to End Plastic Pollution, which is funded by the University of Portsmouth Global Challenges Research Fund through the University of Portsmouth UK and conducted by the Mukuru Youth Initiative. The purpose of this project is to help tackle the problem of plastic waste in cities.