In a recent press release, the Canadian government announced its largest public investment ever into the cleantech space. They’ve committed $26.34 million toward the design and development of technologies that promise to build healthier communities and decrease pollution in both Calgary and British Columbia. All total, they have set aside $2.3 billion for this industry.  

The government says they’re investing in cleantech because they’re committed to both growing the economy while protecting the planet. There’s also a huge push to support innovation that’s linked to economic development, as growth in the cleantech space means thousands of well-paid jobs for skilled Canadians.

For something to fall within the cleantech scope, you can expect it to cover a few important areas. It should offer better performance with lower costs, while simultaneously reducing (preferably eliminating) environmental impact plus demonstrate a positive and responsible relationship with the use of our natural resources.

Cleantech touches countless industries, but is clearly defined by these segments:

  • Agriculture
  • Air & Environment
  • Energy Storage
  • Energy Infrastructure
  • Energy Generation
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Materials
  • Transportation
  • Water & Wastewater
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Recycling & Waste

There are some Canadian startups making big waves in the cleantech space, so if you’re looking for inspiration or ideas to get started, check out what these two innovative companies are doing.


Now that Canada is pricing carbon emissions, there are some exciting opportunities for innovation.

Montreal-based company GHGSat has created a satellite (named Claire after their lead system specialist’s daughter) that is the first satellite on the planet that can track GHG emissions from any industrial site around the globe.

Claire is as big as your microwave and forges ahead at a whopping 7km per second, gathering valuable data on 98-minute treks around the globe.

The company sells the data collected, which happens to be far more precise and cost-effective than any other system being used today.


Ottawa-based RANOVUS is steadily positioning themselves as the solution when the impending data tsunami arrives. The company is responsible for the first ever commercial optical communications technology that is based on quantum-dot lasers. That’s quite the mouthful, but the stats make the need for this crystal clear.

Cisco Systems estimates that between 2016 and 2021, global internet traffic will triple. Chinese researchers calculate that communications technologies will consume close to 21% of the world’s electricity by 2030. Quite simply, our current way of doing things will not support this growth.

Conventional lasers generate one wavelength – but the quantum-dot lasers provide many wavelengths coming from a single laser source.  This equates to data center and network operators being able to hold more data traffic while simultaneously consuming less power.

So if you’d like to break into this field, looking to the future might be the best place to start. Both of these cleantech startups have one major thing in common – they’re looking ahead to uncover global problems that everyone else doesn’t seem to see. They’re positioning themselves as the solution for when the rest of the world gets there.