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Canada Announces Semi-Finalists of Impact Canada Oil Spill Response Challenge

From: Natural Resources Canada

News release

October 7, 2022            Halifax, Nova Scotia            Natural Resources Canada

All across Canada, healthy oceans and waterways provide prosperous local economies and resilient communities. Now more than ever, as the country transitions to a net-zero economy, the Government of Canada is focused on protecting diverse ecosystems, Canada’s natural heritage, and the jobs that rely on them. That’s why we are pursuing next-generation oil spill detection and recovery technologies to protect and preserve our coastlines and the natural environment from oil spills due to accidents or system malfunctions.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, announced the 10 semi-finalists of the Impact Canada Oil Spill Response Challenge, each receiving up to $300,000 in funding to develop rapidly deployable oil spill response solutions.

The Challenge will assess technologies through two streams: 1) detection, to improve data availability and accuracy to inform oil spill response measures; and, 2) recovery, to clean up oil spills in aquatic environments to the fullest extent possible and expedite environmental recovery.

The semi-finalists were selected by a committee of oil spill response experts, following the thorough review and evaluation of applications. They include:

Detection stream:

●        Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a rapidly deployable system of surface and underwater robotic vehicles with state-of-the-art sensors, profiling systems and samplers to inform oil spill decision-making and response.

●        Moran Coastal and Ocean Resources Inc. in Victoria, British Columbia (B.C.), to detect and systematically map anomalies, such as oil and other contaminants, through the use of water-based induced polarization.

●        Tactical Electronics in Calgary, Alberta, for a remotely operated surface vehicle capable of effectively detecting, characterizing, tracking and ultimately expediting the recovery of oil spills in Canada’s diverse aquatic environments.

●        University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for a specialized oil seeker drone, capable of sensing the difference between contaminated and uncontaminated sea ice.

Recovery stream:

●        Aqua-Guard Spill Response Inc. in North Vancouver, B.C., for modules capable of mechanically recovering floating oil sheens with high oil and water efficiency.

●        Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative in Vancouver, B.C., for its Otter Coastal Steward Skimming System – a highly efficient, modular oil skimming system that can be easily packed into totes for fast response to spills in coastal waters.

●        Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, to demonstrate the use of multifunction surface washing agents as an efficient and scalable solution for enhanced oil spill response on Canadian shorelines.

●        LGM Canada in St. John’s, NL, for an enhanced mechanical recovery with an oil boom that blocks oil while allowing water to pass, increasing tow speeds and reducing tow forces.

●        University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, B.C., for a mobile system that integrates nano/micro bubble gas flotation with absorption for quick oil recovery.

●        University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, for an engineered foam filtration system allowing on-site treatment of decanted water in response vessels to increase their storage capacity.

Semi-finalists will have until summer 2023 to develop their prototypes to compete to become a challenge finalist. Up to five finalists will receive up to an additional $1 million and move on to early stage demonstrations of their solutions. The grand prize winner will receive $2 million, awarded for the best solution with the greatest net benefit to oil spill response in Canada. 

The $10-million Oil Spill Response Challenge is the seventh challenge launched by Natural Resources Canada under the Impact Canada initiative. The previous six cleantech challenges were designed to help address some of Canada’s most pressing environmental problems. They are Women in CleantechThe Sky’s the LimitPower ForwardCrush It!Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative and Charging the Future


“Advancing innovative solutions for the detection and recovery of marine and freshwater oil spills is paramount for the protection of the environment and the prosperity, health and safety of Canadians. Through this Challenge, we are providing the opportunity for innovators to create the tools we need to help keep our ecosystems safe and respond to accidents while creating jobs and supporting the clean technology sector. This Challenge builds on the federal government’s proven record of prioritizing ocean health, such as through the historic $3.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources 

“Canada’s marine and freshwater ecosystems are an important part of what makes our country unique. I congratulate the semi-finalists and look forward to seeing what science-based solutions they develop to detect and clean up oil spills. These solutions will contribute greatly to our ongoing environmental response efforts, so we can continue to protect Canada’s waterways and aquatic ecosystems for the benefit of all.”

The Honourable Joyce Murray
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard


Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Keean Nembhard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

Follow us on Twitter: @NRCan (http://twitter.com/nrcan)

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