Here’s the latest on a wide range of innovation in the Edmonton region. Feel free to share it and let us know how we can improve the Blast. Let’s begin!


Innovate Edmonton Secures Federal Funding for ‘Innovation Gallery’ & ‘Capital City Pilots’

On April 29th, Innovate Edmonton participated in two federal funding annoucements. Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) is investing more than $17 million to support 11 companies and three service providers in Edmonton’s innovation community. Through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, federal funding of more than $6.7 million will enable community-led initiatives across Edmonton.

“Edmonton is known as a fantastic launchpad for entrepreneurs as they scale up and bring the best of our city to the global market,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. “This funding allows us to unlock even more potential and use the City as a living lab giving entrepreneurs a chance to test their ideas. With many supports and our open-for-business policies, it is clear that Edmonton welcomes innovation, experimentation, and discovery. Thank you to the federal government for continuing to support Edmonton and our economic revival.”

Innovate Edmonton will receive $779,310 to develop a procurement model for small and medium-sized businesses to test their technologies with the City of Edmonton. CEO Catherine Warren said the project — dubbed “Capital City Pilots” — will provide companies with “a flagship municipal client to showcase on the international stage.” This is in addition to the $490,625 the organization received to create an Innovation Gallery as part of a separate PrairiesCan announcement on community-led infrastructure.

NAIT will receive $1.39 million to develop a standalone 5G network for product testing, and Startup TNT will receive $780,000 to support its investment summits.

Local businesses receiving funding include PBG BioPharmaAltaMLRWI SyntheticsDryrunEC LabsSidekickSmart Access, and Sparrow Connected.

The federal government said it expects the investment to create 882 jobs.


Funding & Support for Entrepreneurship


Tech


Climate Emergency & CleanTech

  • The City of Edmonton‘s carbon budget, a tool that integrates greenhouse gas emissions into municipal budgeting and prioritization processes, earned recognition from the 2022 American Planning Association Sustainable Communities Division Awards on May 2 in the Policy, Law, or Tool Award category. “This is North America’s first municipal carbon budget,” said Howaida Hassan with the city’s urban planning and economy branch, “meaning that in addition to measuring the dollars and cents of the budget, now Edmonton will also measure the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that a project adds or takes away from the environment.”
  • ATCO signed an agreement with Canadian Pacific to provide engineering services for two hydrogen production and refuelling facilities at CP’s rail yards in Calgary and Edmonton. “We’re thrilled to be working with CP to advance hydrogen in yet another energy application, in this case for use as a commercial transportation fuel,” said Bob Myles, ATCO’s VP of corporate development. Construction on the facilities will begin later this year, with hydrogen scheduled to begin fuelling CP trains by 2023.
  • German developer Alpin Sun is proposing a $340-million solar farm project for Sturgeon County. “We are proud of our ability to continue attracting investments in clean energy that showcase our commitment to sustainability, benefit residents, and aid the decarbonization efforts of industry,” Sturgeon County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw said in a news release. Alpin Sun is also building Airport City Solar at the Edmonton International Airport.
  • Matthew Labbe, a PhD candidate at the U of A’s Faculty of Engineering, is working on lowering the cost of zinc-air batteries, a pricey but more effective alternative to lithium-ion batteries that he believes have great potential to store excess renewable energy on power grids. Labbe is expanding on earlier research in which he and his colleagues discovered the chemistry needed to use iron oxide as a catalyst on battery electrodes.

Digital Inclusion & Education

  • Innovate Edmonton board member F. Haider Alvi was among a few professors from Athabasca University that published an article, highlighting four distinct aspects of online learning that should stick after the pandemic: learning to learn online, designing online teaching with purpose, blending space and time online and continued disruption with AI.

Food Security & Agtech

  • The Organic Box was awarded $818,124 from Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) to adapt The Güd Box food delivery service to “improve access to fresh, affordable, and seasonal produce to vulnerable low-income and new Canadian families.”
  • In a separate PrairiesCan announcement of $6.7 million for community spacesExplore Edmonton was awarded $99,950 to expand the Edmonton Urban Farm at the former Northlands site. The money will be used to repurpose an underutilized lot to increase food production and create a public gathering space.
  • TrustBIX has signed a master services agreement with JBS Canada under which the former will leverage its proprietary platform to “support the evolution of the JBS Angus beef brand.” JBS Canada president David Colwell said “working with the TrustBIX team will enhance the JBS journey to provide unmatched quality and service along with accountability and transparency.”

Public Health


Arts & Culture

  • Sokaris Studios started with an immersive art gallery called About Light in City Centre Mall during the pandemic. Though that installation has since closed, founders Adon Lee Clements and David Kaminski continue to offer digital art that interacts with viewers in unique ways such as using augmented reality. “You’ll be able to look at it through your phone, and see it come alive,” Clements explained.

Bits & Pieces


Other Mentions


This Blast is brought to you by Innovate Edmonton in partnership with Taproot Publishing.