Written by Rushmila Rahman and published by BCBusiness on May 28, 2024

Wildfire management innovators in B.C. can score $3 million from CICE, which recently awarded young university ventures $75,000 each

Big things are happening over at the B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE). 

The nonprofit organization—which has been investing in cleantech innovation since 2021—is offering up to $3 million in non-dilutive funding to support innovation focused on wildfire management solutions. The growing frequency and intensity of wildfires in B.C. has sparked a need for more technologies that can help detect, prevent and mitigate them, so CICE is looking to power companies working in this field, including those that are helping communities adapt to and recover from fires.  

“Canada’s extensive experience in combatting some of the most severe wildfires on the planet also uniquely positions it to lead in finding solutions,” said CICE CEO Sarah Goodman in a release. “By drawing upon our hard-earned insights, we can integrate our expertise in clean technology with our knowledge of wildfire and land management to deliver the solutions the world urgently needs, addressing growing global demand for wildfire technology innovations.” 

Applications are open until August 7, and CICE will prioritize solutions with built-in co-benefits such as biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration. Full registration details can be found here

Emissions-free electrification 

CICE is also working to fuel the future of energy storage. In 2023, COO Todd Sayers announced that the organization was investing $500,000 into next-gen battery products made by Vancouver-based Invinity Energy Systems.  

More recently, the CICE released a report, “Powering the Future with Energy Storage,” that analyzes how energy storage innovation can propel the adoption of renewable energies forward, resulting in more sustainable communities.  

Key findings state that variable renewable energy (VRE) like wind and solar is currently the fastest growing form of electrification, and energy storage technologies are a solution to issues associated with VRE.  

New university ventures 

CICE is also investing in B.C. ventures that recently graduated from university entrepreneurship programs. On Thursday, May 23, CICE revealed the first two recipients of this non-dilutive funding: Vancouver-based VulcanX Energy Corp. (a UBC spin-out) and Victoria-based Curat Innovations Inc. (a UVic spin-out). The companies were awarded $75,000 each, the former for its work on hydrogen production and the latter for its organic waste processing technology. 

The $75,000 is an initial corporate investment, but the chosen companies will also be considered for further investment from CICE’s larger project-based funding rounds in the future.

“The pathway to securing early-stage funding and partnerships is challenging, especially for university-based entrepreneurs and early-stage ventures fresh out of universities,” added Goodman. “Supporting post-secondary graduates embarking on new ventures is crucial for building a skilled and diverse workforce, and leading a clean, prosperous economy.” 


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