Ottawa clean-tech firms eye growing market

Greg Markey
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The head of one Ottawa environmental technology firm says the Chinese government’s emphasis on clean air and water in its latest five-year plan presents huge opportunities for the local sector.

Clearford Industries CEO Bruce Linton

Clearford Industries CEO Bruce Linton says his company, which produces advanced wastewater treatment systems, is working with development partners in China who will act as "channels" to municipalities looking for solutions to improve the quality and volume of its water.

"Never in the past have they had a discussion (about) the quantity of water or quality of water, and the problems they are encountering now," he said.

The Chinese government issues five-year plans that set central goals for provinces and municipalities to achieve, and are given. The latest plan, released earlier this year, was the country's twelfth.

The cities building water infrastructure will be smaller cities by China's standards, with populations between two million and eight million people. Mr. Linton said Clearford's technology is most effective in communities of that size.

Clearford develops and markets a wastewater collection system, which requires smaller water treatment plants, produces green energy and requires lower excavation costs.

Mr. Linton will speak about China's latest five-year plan at the Canadian Cleantech Summit taking place in Ottawa next week.

The second annual summit, being held at the Ottawa Convention Centre Oct. 27 and 28, will bring Canadian clean-tech researchers, investors, entrepreneurs and policy makers together in a single venue.

While the global clean-tech industry is worth more than $1 trillion dollars, only a small portion of that comes from Canada, says Celine Bak, co-chair of the Cleantech Summit.

She says Canada's clean-tech sector should represent two to six per cent, or $20 billion to $60 billion, of that industry. Canada's sector is presently valued at $9 billion, with half of that coming from export revenues, according to Ms. Bak. The importance of the industry is increasing as the sector increases in size.

"(Clean tech) will become the third-largest industry sector in the world after automotive and electronics manufacturing within the next 10 years, says Ms. Bak. "That is an incredibly important change in the global economy."

According to OCRI, there are 240 clean-tech companies in Ottawa, mostly focused in the areas of bioproducts, clean energy, environmental and R&D infrastructure. Ms. Bak says that these companies will benefit from the summit.

"Coming to the cleantech summit will offer the opportunity to make sure Ottawa companies make their voice heard as far as their role in creating jobs, generating exports, and building innovation-based companies that will grow into significant and sustained businesses," Ms. Bak says.

Ottawa is also at an advantage because of its close proximity to national industry associations, with the summit being an opportunity to showcase the achievements of local companies, said Marc McArthur, manager of the Ottawa Cleantech Initiative. He said that the summit also raises the profile of Ottawa's cleantech industry.

Being able to brand Ottawa as a city that is synonymous with the clean-tech industry is important, and the Cleantech summit provides that opportunity, Mr. McArthur said.

Organizations: Clearford Industries, Cleantech, Canadian Cleantech Summit Ottawa Convention Centre Ottawa Cleantech Initiative

Geographic location: Ottawa, China, Canada

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