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Clean Co. Moves from Ottawa and Announces Big Plans

Planetary Hydrogen transferred most of its operations from Ottawa to Halifax and announced that by 2035 it will be removing a gigaton of carbon from the atmosphere each year. The two-year-old venture’s system produces hydrogen, which is increasingly popular as a clean fuel. It also injects bicarbonate into oceans to make the water less acidic and so capture carbon.

The scale of the climate problem means the company needs to be capturing a gigaton (a billion metric tons) of carbon annually by 2035.

“When you look at any carbon capture system in the world, that’s the scale that you have to get to for it to have an impact,” CEO Mike Kelland told Entrevestor.

“We’re at a point right now where even if we were to meet every pledge made by every government…we would still see a rise [in the Earth’s temperature] of 2.5 to 2.8 degrees…”

The company will use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and then sell the hydrogen as fuel. The market for hydrogen is currently $150 billion-a-year and that’s expected to double by 2030.

Though many companies make hydrogen this way, Planetary Hydrogen’s process involves adding mineral salt to also create hydroxide. The hydroxide reacts with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, capturing CO2 and making bicarbonate, an alkaline material. Bicarbonates in the ocean can capture carbon for thousands of years, and help to ease the acidity that is being caused by global warming and which threatens ocean species.

“The oceans are one of very few carbon repositories that have the scale to take the carbon out of the atmosphere and safely sequester it” said Kelland.

Vroom Crew Founder and CEO Quinton Gorman, left, and Service Manager Brad Chabassol.

CHARBOYZ Meats Sizzle Across HRM

Chef Jason Bourgoin launched CHARBOYZ boxed local meats last May, and his meats, cooking tips and sauces are hot business during the pandemic.

Every month, Bourgoin creates a new boxed offering using a range of meats. Supporting local farmers is central. He said the region’s beef is high-quality but less than five percent of the beef eaten in the Maritimes is reared locally.

“We’re trying to take the intimidation out of meat and make people feel they’re the bosses of their own kitchen,” the chef told Entrevestor.

He’s recently added a new feature: MeatSchool, which he hosts on Facebook every Friday at 7 p.m. Atlantic time. Bourgoin is keen to get his sauces into retail stores, and the meat boxes may be scaled through franchising.

“I want our Undercover Sauce to be the new Ketchup created in the Maritimes,” he said.

LeBlanc Named Chair at Innovacorp

Innovacorp named Nicole LeBlanc its new chair of the board, choosing a venture capital fund manager who has worked in Atlantic Canada, Toronto and Europe.

LeBlanc, who is succeeding Rodney F. Burgar, has worked with the First Angel Network in Halifax and as an investment manager for BDC Capital. She joined the Innovacorp board two years ago and is behind the group’s mission to focus VC backing on companies that are aiming for billion-dollar valuations.

“Within venture capital, it’s not a business of home runs; it’s a business of grand slams,” she told Entrevestor.

“If you look at Canadian history, it’s the companies like RIM (now BlackBerry) and companies like Shopify that are the anchors in the local economy that allow the economy to grow and thrive. We can grow those companies in Atlantic Canada.”

The pandemic is creating opportunities as well as problems, she said.

“What’s really important is for companies in Atlantic Canada to have ties to investors and anchor customers based elsewhere...Having those international ties will help us to get better and stronger.”

Carol Moreira is a Principal of Entrevestor, which provides news and data on Atlantic Canadian startups.”