Alberta may be known primarily for oil and gas, but the province is increasingly home to one of Canada’s most robust cleantech ecosystems, where startups are continually making advances with technology—which is good news because some reports suggest that “climate concerns are at an all-time high.”
For example, 15 of last year’s Foresight 50 were from the Calgary region, including Carbon Upcycling Technologies, SolarSteam, Cvictus, Swirltex, and more. And it’s not just Calgary—Edmonton’s Copperstone and Swift also made the list.
But we don’t even need to go as far as last year for sterling examples of Alberta’s cleantech innovation.
Founded in 2017 by two former vac truck operators working in the oil fields of Alberta, Shawn Marten and Adam Jessome saw a need in the marketplace and jumped in. The entrepreneurs built a SaaS tech platform for producers and energy companies.
This month, the Alberta company was recognized as an innovator in oil and gas production by Darcy Partners, a member-driven technology and innovation market intelligence firm serving the energy industry.
IronSight’s SaaS offering digitalizes field data capture to create more transparent, informed, and agile operations. Deployed through a web and mobile app, IronSight bridges the gap left by traditional solutions by taking a field-first approach to digital data capture.
Also this year, Calgary’s DeepMarkit announced the formation of a new subsidiary to focus on exploring, developing, and investing in innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) based technologies.
The local company is focused on transitioning the global carbon offset market to the more accessible digital economy by minting carbon offset credits into non-fungible tokens.
The company is currently considering several potential targets, including startups and established companies, as well as investing in internal R&D projects which may complement DeepMarkit’s proprietary carbon offset minting platform, MintCarbon.io.
Yet another example is another Foresight 50 member HEMPALTA, a cleantech company focused on innovative hemp processing and product creation. It recently completed an equity crowdfunding round on the FrontFundr platform.
The financing will be used to fund strategic technology acquisitions and support sales and marketing activity as the company looks to be at the forefront of what it calls the next evolution in agriculture: utilizing advanced technology to create and produce hemp-based products for a healthier and sustainable planet.
The company has been making improvements to its product lines, production scalability, and distribution channels. That’s why we named them, alongside IronSight, as a freshly funded startup to watch in 2023.
Summit Nanotech recently raised funding from Evok Innovations and BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund. The Calgary scale-up, which has made waves with its novel sorbent-based “direct lithium extraction” tech, secured US$50 million just weeks ago to “build the lithium mine of the future,” according to founder Amanda Hall.
It’s expected sustainable lithium production will be critical to meet electric vehicle demand growth and realize the energy transition for decarbonization.
Lithium’s exponential demand growth “can only be met with the introduction of disruptive lithium extraction technologies,” said Phil Inagaki of Fora last March. He also suggested “Summit’s solution will play a critical role in ensuring that there is a sustainable supply of lithium to support the world’s electrification goals.”
All in all, Alberta’s cleantech ecosystem certainly appears robust and growing in 2023. A diverse pool of entrepreneurs continue to craft unique solutions to complex problems using a variety of technologies and strategies.