Developing Sustainable Innovation Solutions

Day two of the BC Tech Summit includes a talk on the opportunities that the cleantech sector has to make resource-based industries better, cheaper, and cleaner. In tune with the COP21 agreement, governments from around the world will be working to transition to a low carbon society and the solutions that tech can create to accelerate this transition will be crucial.

Day one of the Summit kicked off with a strong keynote from the Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia. The speech featured an exciting announcement that coding and integrated technology in learning will be part of the B.C. curriculum for all B.C. Students K-12 effective this September.  Many programs support the existing businesses of today; This initiative helps ensure that B.C.’s talent pool of tomorrow to be at the cutting-edge globally.  This type of generational long-term planning should be lauded by every resident of B.C.  It is not just exciting, it will result in tremendous improvements in productivity and competitiveness globally.

Designing a Long-term Strategy

While Day 1’s announcement addressed the critical area of education, Day 2 features an emphasis on sustainability.  Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important aspect of development. By building a more competitive economy through sustainable innovation, B.C’s resource industries of tomorrow will be prepared for the future.

Technology is now one of the largest contributing sectors in the provincial economy. BC’s tech companies will continue to be presented with a huge opportunity to work together with new and existing resource industries, which are traditionally among the largest employers in the province, to find areas that can be improved through technology.

The tremendous potential for technology based solutions to develop cleaner, more effective, more efficient solutions for resource-based sectors will provide benefits to all areas of the economy, the province, and the global ecosystem as a whole.

The key lies in long-term strategy. With climate change adding urgency to the need to adapt, governments are increasingly focused on creating policies and economic frameworks that take into account the bigger picture.

While our dependence on resource industries will not dwindle anytime soon, through the help of innovative, sustainable solutions, we will make industries like fisheries, mining, forestry, and oil and gas cleaner, more efficient, more effective, and increasingly valuable.

Cleantech and Resource Industries

The Alacrity Foundation is proud to be working with companies in the resource sector that develop solutions aligned with industry and the government’s strategic direction. Two such firms, MinaCore Engineering and Syscor, provide solutions used across the mining and oil and gas sectors.

MinaCore Engineering develops solutions for companies in the mining, oil, and gas industries. Personnel is able to monitor industry equipment and receive important information regarding its status through custom wireless sensors that are built by MinaCore. By tracking the status of industrial equipment in often harsh or inaccessible environments, MinaCore’s solutions are able to reduce the risk of injury to personnel while ensuring equipment is managed and upgraded to function properly. MinaCore’s customers include Royal Dutch Shell and BMT-WBM.

Syscor builds monitoring solutions and trackers for storage tanks, pipelines, and petrochemical facilities in the oil and gas industry. The company has developed sensor systems that supply industry customers with innovative technology solutions meant to provide early detection and prevention to limit product spills.

According to an industry performance report published by the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), there were 122 liquid and natural gas spills or releases in 2014. Four of those were categorized as “significant”, defined as causing serious injury or fatality, causing a liquid release of more than 50 barrels, producing unintentional ignition, or resulting in the rupture of a pipeline. These four spills resulted in the release of 503 barrels of crude oil and 20,360 barrels of oil equivalent in natural gas. One barrel holds 159 litres. Syscor’s solutions are designed to address and mitigate the risk and damage caused by these types of spills or releases.

We look forward to learning more from presenters at the BC Tech Summit about what other ideas and opportunities exist in the province and how our foundation can continue to contribute to the growth of sustainable innovation solutions.