Building a sustainable future and chemistry go hand-in-hand. At first glance, it may appear as if the chemistry industry is a major contributor for climate change, yet it can also be a solution. With chemistry as the basis for many innovations and with increasing concerns over climate change and pollution, the Government of Canada is developing new government incentives, allowing chemists to tailor their innovations to meet Canada’s climate change goals. That being said, here are some ways that you can innovate within the chemistry field to build a more sustainable tomorrow:
Without a doubt, plastic management is one of the greatest concerns associated with environmental health. As a result, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) requested that the Federal Budget allocate $200 million in funds for the establishment of the Plastic Technology Innovation Fund (PTIF), a fund dedicated to the research and development of plastic recycling and recovery innovations. If approved, the innovations that would be eligible for this funding would include innovative product designs and environmental recycling and recovery techniques. The goal of this funding is to enable Canadians to be better equipped to manage plastic waste.
In addition, the CIAC also requested changes to the SR&ED program, the reauthorization of funding for the Chemicals Management Plans (CMP), and the expansion of aspects related to international development, to enable Canadians to innovate in this sector with less financial restraints and at a global level.
The Government of Canada recognizes the need to act on this initiative and has begun supporting small and medium-sized businesses tackling plastic management. Recently, the Innovative Solutions Canada Program hosted the Canadian Plastic Innovation Challenge which granted the winner $1 million in funding to create a prototype of its alternative-plastic packaging solution.
Although the Government of Canada recognizes the urgent need to fund these chemistry-based innovations, they recognize that they will require private investments to achieve its goal of a net-zero economy. Thankfully, this industry may produce significant revenue in the future and is drawing the attention of several businesses and investors. As part of Federal Budget 2022, the Government of Canada has invested $15 billion into the Canada Growth Fund, a major contributor to building Canada’s net-zero economy, to accelerate the investment of private capital into chemistry innovations that contribute to sustainability.
Reducing carbon production is essential for Canada’s sustainable future goals; It is Canada’s goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Currently, Alberta is leading by example with the creation of the first net-zero carbon emissions ethylene and derivatives complex. This complex will focus on creating natural chemical products and fuel through carbon capture. Projects that reduce and/or eliminate emissions, such as the one mentioned above are vital for Canada’s future and economy and are being supported by both the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and the Federal Budget. The CIB and the Federal Budget offer support for these types of projects with the funding available from the three-year, $10 billion Growth Plan created in 2020. The impact of the CIB was then broadened in 2022 to further support projects that not only contribute to carbon capture but also contribute to clean power, green infrastructure, hydrogen production, transportation, and more!
Canada is a global leader in terms of sustainable chemical production. Founded in 1985, Canada initiated the now U.N.-recognized sustainability initiative, Responsible Care, a movement for the development of safe, responsible, and sustainable chemical manufacturing. Although the initiative has spread world-wide, chemists are still encouraged to improve these products to create a safer and greener future.
At this time Canadians are already incentivized to adopt technologies that utilize renewable fuel and are lower in emissions. Nevertheless, in light of recent global events, it has become evident that Canadians need access to fuel more urgently than ever before. However, to avoid straying off the path to a sustainable future, innovations for renewable fuel and clean hydrogen are being sought after more than ever before.
As seen above, chemistry is the underlying principle behind many innovations that can help to save the planet. Chemistry is responsible for many of the advances made in a variety of sectors that enable Canada to work towards achieving its sustainability goals. In order to fight climate change and build a greener tomorrow, the Government of Canada provides government incentives and is working on expanding its reach, enabling chemists to innovate for a better tomorrow without limits. Thus far, the Government of Canada has allocated a total of $9 billion towards combating climate change by 2030, and this fund may continue to grow with the trillions of dollars available through private funding. Fighting climate change is a priority for Canada, positioning Canadian chemists in the best position to innovate to tackle climate change. Find out if your chemistry project is eligible for government funding here!