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Canada launches call for industrial net-zero projects

The Government of Canada is calling for ideas and proposals for its Strategic Innovation Fund’s N...

An industrial property owned by Algoma Steel Inc., the recipient of NZA funding for switching to clean technology. (Courtesy, Algoma Steel Inc.)

The Government of Canada is calling for ideas and proposals for its Strategic Innovation Fund’s Net Zero Accelerator (NZA) initiative to cut pollution in the industrial sector.

The fund, which has $8 billion available through the NZA, will see the government support the decarbonization of high domestic emitters for projects.  The investments are intended to initiate the green transformation of the Canadian industrial sector.

As Canada looks to reduce CO2 emissions and set a path to net-zero by 2050, the government is looking toward public-private partnerships that offer significant and short-term emission reductions within the next decade.

“By supporting businesses that understand the economic benefit of lower emissions, we’re prioritizing a strong and sustainable economy, Canadian jobs and ensuring a cleaner future for generations to come,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, in a statement.

Announced in December 2020, the NZA initiative was designed to help Canadian businesses seize new opportunities as the world builds a greener global economy. The initiative supports projects that promote decarbonization, innovate clean technology, and develop a domestic battery supply chain.

NZA seeking early-stage projects

Past applicants have proposed projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and received funding. More than 100 projects have been announced, and more than $5.2 billion has been contributed to Canadian companies that created more than 88,000 jobs, according to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

To receive funding, companies are expected to keep operations and carry out their project in Canada and make long-term commitments to Canada, with clear benefits that will advance Canada’s commitment towards net zero emissions by 2050.

In its latest announcement, Canada is recruiting companies to table an NZA application to give their ideas for the industrial sector, no matter how early the stage. Industrial applications could apply to various sectors of the economy, including mining, food and beverage, agriculture, retail, textiles and more.

The application form is divided into two paths, called Path 1 and Path 2.

Path 1 asks for companies to submit proposals for industrial innovation, and it’s due by June 30, 2022. Meanwhile, Path 2 will allow companies to meet with an Industrial Decarbonization Team — a dedicated team of specialized officials who will provide tailored guidance and advice on completing the government’s industrial decarbonization priorities.

Notable past projects and information sessions

As of December 2021, approximately $53 billion in total investments have been leveraged through the initiative, and more than 32 Canadian-owned firms have received funding.

Recently, BASF, a key supplier of cathode active materials (CAM) needed to produce lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles (EV), announced it has acquired land in Bécancour, Que., to build an active cathode material (CAM) and battery metals recycling plant.

With funding from the NZA fund, the facility will start operations in 2025 and serve the Canadian, United States, and Mexico e-mobility markets.

Additionally, Algoma Steel Inc., based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., received $420 million to retrofit their operations and phase out coal-fired steelmaking processes last July.

The funding allowed the facility to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to support its transition to electric furnace production, which is expected to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than three million metric tonnes per year by 2030.

New applicants interested in the NZA initiative can attend an information session about this funding opportunity on April 5, 2022, to learn more about the program. You can find more info here.

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