CTC #53 - erthos closes $6.5M to disrupt plastics and Canada rolls out national carbon strategy
Plus- CarbiCrete launches carbon-negative bricks; seed rounds across carbon removal, climate analytics and food production; and Alberta rolls out "deep freeze" ad campaign
Welcome to another issue of Climate Tech Canada and a happy Q4 to those who observe. This weekend I'll be putting out a deep dive on climate tech funding in H1 (a little late, but better late than never). A bit of fun Thanksgiving reading to make sure you're the life of the party.
This week in Canadian climate tech:
UofT grads bag $6.5M to disrupt plastics
CarbiCrete launches the world's first carbon-negative bricks
Canada launches a roadmap for carbon removal
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🌱 In focus: erthos disrupts single-use plastics
erthos, based in Toronto, ON, closed a $6.5M Series A led by HK-based Horizons Ventures to transform the plastics industry. The round was oversubscribed, with participation from the51 Food & AgTech Fund, Telus Pollinator Fund for Good, dCarbonVC and others, bringing their total funding to $11.2M.
Co-founders Nuha Siddiqui and Kritika Tyagi founded erthos to tackle the impact of plastics on global ecosystems. It’s a gnarly problem - the world produces about 460 million tonnes of plastic every year, responsible for 3.4% of global emissions, and has cumulatively produced more than one tonne for every person alive today. And they have tricky end-life - about 70% of all plastic waste ends up in landfills or incinerators, and only 9% is recycled. A huge amount of this plastic also ends up in ecosystems, with an estimated 8 million tonnes entering the ocean every year.
There are existing sustainable options, but they suffer from two major gaps: they’re “biodegradable” (i.e. they break down eventually) but not compostable, a key differentiator in regulations; and they’re hard to integrate with existing manufacturing systems.
erthos is tackling this problem with plant-based resins produced from agricultural by-products that are able to replace the polypropylene and polyethylene used in everyday packaging. The erthos team recently achieved commercial composting certifications, proving their plant-based products physically disintegrate in a specified period of time with no microplastic residue.
The company offers two solutions: a drop-in technology for plastics producers that requires little re-tooling, and a range of plant-based products like cutlery and containers that they produce themselves and sell directly to brands. The new funding will be used for technical product development and commercial growth as the team collaborates with brands like AB InBev and auto supplier Atlas Copco.
📊 Arolytics (Calgary, AB) closed $3.5M in seed funding and grants for its methane management solution. The round was led by BDC Capital’s Sustainability Venture Fund. The funding will enable Arolytics to accelerate development and deployment of its methane management software for the energy industry.
🥗 Relocalize (Montreal, QC) landed a $4.78M seed round for its distributed food production platform led by i4 Capital and Waterpoint Lane. Relocalize is addressing transportation emissions by making food at the point of distribution.
🏭 Green Graphite Technologies (Montreal, QC) also raised $2.2M in seed funding from BDC Capital to commercialize their low-carbon graphite processing technology for lithium-ion batteries.
💨 CO2 Lock (Vancouver, BC) raised $1.1M in financing for its mineralization carbon removal solution. CO2 Lock uses a mineral called brucite to permanently store carbon. The funding will be used for field work and validation.
⛏️ GeologicAI (Calgary, AB) secured $13.6M in funding from Export Development Canada, extending their Series A led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures to $30M USD. GeologicAI uses AI and robotics to efficiently identify critical minerals below the earth’s surface, avoiding disruptive exploration.
🔥 Milestones & Growth
The (literal) building blocks of a low-carbon future
CarbiCrete launched the first commercially-available carbon-negative concrete blocks in a partnership with Patio Drummond. Concrete masonry units (CMUs) are typically used in building foundations and walls for their durability, ease to install, and cost effectiveness. And now you can add “sequestering carbon” to the list.
How it’s made: CarbiCrete’s technology replaces the typical cement used in production with industrial by-products, curing it with CO2. This process sequesters carbon in the concrete, removing about 150kg of carbon for every tonne of concrete produced. It’s a big win compared to the 1 ton of CO2 produced with traditional methods.
Why it matters: Concrete is the second most consumed material in the world and is responsible for generating about 8% of the world’s emissions. It’s also a huge market opportunity at about $380B in 2021 with demand projected to reach 2.7 trillion units per year by 2027.
Elsewhere in climate tech:
♻️ Nova Scotia’s Sustane Foods won approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for its GroBoost Fertilizer, derived from upcycled municipal solid waste.
🌋 Geothermal startup Eavor landed a contract with the U.S. Defense Department to power a Texas military base.
⚡️ Hydrogen fuel cell developer Loop Energy laid off a majority of staff and closed its China office, citing challenging capital market conditions.
⚡️ Ionomr Innovations graduated from the Shell GameChanger Accelerator, validating the performance capabilities of its next-gen hydrogen membrane.
🔋Solid-state battery supplier Blue Solutions will collaborate with manufacturing giant Foxconn to develop solid-state batteries and build an EV battery ecosystem.
🗞️ In the news
💨 A roadmap for carbon: Canada rolled out a Carbon Management Strategy, outlining the federal government’s priorities around carbon removal and storage. The strategy focuses on decarbonizing industry, low-carbon hydrogen from natural gas, gas-fired energy, CO2 as a commodity, and carbon dioxide removal.
The strategy provides some welcome clarity and support for the sector, but implementing it will need to walk a tightrope between drawing down carbon and extending fossil fuels.
📊 Push & pull on emissions: Canada’s net emissions increased by 2% this year, led by oil & gas and buildings. The two sectors were responsible for 72% of the 14MT increase. Canada’s emissions are now just 6.4% below 2005 levels, while we’ve committed to a 40% reduction by 2030. That means we need to cut about 5.4% each year.
The upshot: policy and tech deployment are offsetting much of the growth as other sectors continue decarbonizing.
🥶 No one wants to freeze in the dark: That’s the tagline for Alberta’s new ad campaign targeting the feds’ Clean Energy Regulations. It’s literally on the side of trucks in Ottawa. It’s a message backed by the Alberta Electricity System Operator, an unusual move from the body that’s responsible for ensuring blackouts don’t happen.
A delegation of Alberta CEOs are also in Ottawa this week to meet with federal ministers on energy and climate issues.
In other news:
Natural Resources minister Wilkinson was in France last week to promote Canada’s critical minerals industry
Canada jumped 6 spots in a list of top destinations for clean energy investment
The feds launched a research & capacity building fund aimed at helping municipalities tackle food waste
New EU rules cracking down on products that result in “forest degradation” could put Canada in the hot seat
Ontario signed a trade deal with Nevada to secure a reliable source of lithium for the EV market
Manitoba may lack the clean energy capacity to attract new, energy-heavy customers
📣 What’s going on
📅 Carbon Removal Canada Launch Event: To celebrate their launch, Carbon Removal Canada is hosting a panel on all things CDR followed by networking. Nov 8th in Ottawa, ON.
📅 Innovation in Mining & Minerals Conference: Presented by CDL-Vancouver, this event brings together industry leaders, academics and investors to discuss the future of the mineral exploration and mining industry. Oct 25th in Vancouver, BC.
💡 Early Stage Commercialization Fund: Invest Nova Scotia is seeking applicants that are looking to develop proof-of-concepts and commercialize their research. The fund includes a dedicated Low Carbon Stream. Applications close Oct 16th.
Featured postings from some of Canada’s most innovative companies working on carbon removal, distributed energy resources, low-carbon buildings and more!
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That’s all for this week’s issue, and I’m looking forward to sharing my H1 deep dive with you in a few days! Also, you can now find me on Bluesky @justinreist.bsky.social where I'll be posting more and hanging out with climate people. Hit me up if you want one of those sweet, sweet invite codes