Innovate BC awards $841,500 to accelerate SFU research projects

On Friday, October 12, through the Ignite program, Innovate BC awarded $944,600 to accelerate commercialization of innovative and technological research projects. Of that investment, a total of $841,500 was awarded to Simon Fraser University projects. To date, Innovate BC has awarded $4.3 million in Ignite funding since the program launched in 2016. 

The four awarded projects were determined based on their dedication to address an industry problem with the potential for significant benefit to British Columbia, and projects needed to be realized by both academic and industry members. To be considered, the projects also had to promise commercial and technical viability, and the ability to be market-ready within three years.

SFU research projects included:

- Clean Technology/Materials Science: Professor Stephen Holdcroft, SFU, is working with SFU Chemistry spin-off venture Ionomr Innovations to develop the most durable and versatile anion exchange membrane ever synthesized. Their novel and revolutionary membrane will benefit British Columbia by unlocking cost and performance barriers for many industrial cleantech solutions in energy and wastewater treatment. Awarded: $300,000.

- Transportation/Mechanical Engineering: Professor Majid Bahrami, SFU, is working with Delta-Q Technologies and Terella Energy Systems to optimize the next-generation of cooling solutions for high-capacity battery chargers in electric vehicles. The use of sophisticated, graphite sheets will be the key innovation used to enhance thermal performance and decrease electromagnetic interference, making notable contributions to the advanced materials manufacturing and electric vehicle industries both in BC and abroad. Awarded: $300,000.

- Agriculture/Biotechnology: Professor Zamir Punja, SFU and Professor Juli Carillo, UBC, are working with Terramera, a Vancouver-based plant intelligence company, to make a safer generation of plant-based pesticides derived from Neem and Karanja oils. Their breakthrough technology, known as the Molecular Delivery System (MDS), significantly amplifies their effectiveness, which will enable these environmentally friendly pesticides to outperform their synthetic chemical counterparts, creating a significant environmental impact in BC. Awarded: $241,500.

The fourth innovative project was:

Forestry/Biocomposites: Professor Jack Saddler, UBC, is working with Performance Biofilaments to incorporate nanocellulose products derived from wood pulp into high-tech, lightweight, composite thermoplastics for the automotive manufacturing and sporting goods markets. The pursuit of these non-traditional applications of wood cellulose will establish new markets and push the development of exceptional, new nanocellulose materials at commercially viable prices, while reducing the amount of plastics used around the world. Awarded: $103,100.

[Photo Credit: Ionomr Innovations]

From Innovate BC's news release, the Honourable Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology congratulated all awarded projects:

“Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Ignite Awards. The hard work and innovation that goes into these projects has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of the people. The Ignite awards are crucial because they foster research and collaboration that help advance the natural resource and applied sciences sectors in B.C., which help to grow our strong provincial economy.”

Learn more about the Ignite awards and read Innovate BC's news release.