GreenCentre Canada Offers Assistance to Growing Chemistry Companies
One of Launch Lab’s clients, FireRein was featured in a Kingston Whig Standard article recently, written by Max Szyc.
GreenCentre Canada, a Kingston-based company that assists organizations specializing in green chemistry innovation, is now accepting applications to help growing small- and medium-sized enterprises in Ontario.
Located in Innovation Park at Queen’s University, the company offers research and development services to “develop, de-risk and scale up chemistry and materials-based innovations,” according to a news release.
“We’re making it easier for people to find us,” executive director Lyle Clarke said by phone from Toronto’s Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Discovery conference. “The applications are always open, so any entrepreneur who feels we can help them is free to contact us any time.”
Clarke said that when the company formed in 2009, it initially focused on commercializing academic discoveries. But GreenCentre has since broadened its capabilities and now offers its services to any international company on a commercial basis.
“We’ve expanded … to advance technology right from the ideation stage from universities, right through development and scale-up, so we can take technologies and put them in the field and get them to the late stage of commercialization,” Clarke said.
Quincy Emmons, CEO of the Napanee-based company FireRein, is thankful for GreenCentre’s services.
Founded in 2012, Emmons’ company has been developing a water additive that could revolutionize the firefighting industry. When introduced into a fire steam, the additive would create a gel that could quickly knock down a fire with up to 90% less water.
“The idea is it can be used to prevent fires, as well as protect from and extinguish, so it’s a triple threat,” Emmons said. “A good example would be the marsh that burns every spring in Kingston. We can create a break there so the fire would only burn towards the coated product since the gel sticks to anything.”
Emmons said this technology is already in place in the United States, and he wants to bring it to Canada. FireRein went to GreenCentre in late 2013, and the company pointed it towards numerous helpful grants, along with providing lab work. This eventually led to a formula that could suppress both class A and B fires.
“We’d be the first in the world to do that, to our knowledge,” Emmons said, adding that he’s hoping to make the gel available by early 2016. “This one program is going to be huge for us.”
Emmons adds that without GreenCentre Canada’s help, his company likely would have spent the rest of 2015 just looking for funds to continue the project.
As for possible increases in Ontario-based chemistry companies, Clarke believes growth will go beyond the province, adding to Canada’s “comprehensive innovation culture.”
“Even in Kingston alone at Innovation Park, there are sister organizations like Launch Lab that work together to help ideas get to market,” Clarke said. “We at GreenCentre are proud components of that ecosystem focusing on chemistry, and in particular, green chemistry.”
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