Canadian companies innovating to tackle microplastics from tire wear with Government of Canada support
April 26, 2023 – Gatineau, Quebec
Plastic pollution is a growing problem, affecting ecosystems, wildlife, and the economy. Every year approximately six million tonnes of tire wear particles are released into the global environment. That is why the Government of Canada is supporting Canadian businesses in developing innovative solutions to plastic pollution.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced the three Phase 1 recipients of the latest Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenges to address plastic pollution from tires. These small- and medium-sized Canadian companies will each receive up to $150,000 toward developing environmentally acceptable and cost-effective solutions that will reduce the release of microplastics from tire wear in Canada.
The following companies are receiving funding to develop their proof of concept:
- Applied Quantum Materials Inc., in Edmonton, Alberta, is developing a specialized reinforcing additive for tires to minimize microplastic release over different road and temperature conditions.
- Nova Graphene Canada Inc., in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is developing a graphene-enhanced rubber that could reduce tire-wear shedding and extend the life of tires.
- Stema Punch and Die Inc., in Cambridge, Ontario, is creating specialized compositions for tires to improve their wear and help stop the shed of microplastics.
The Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenges are part of the Innovative Solutions Canada program. The Challenges seek solutions for sectors that generate some of the greatest quantities of plastic waste and pollution and/or show the greatest opportunity for impact and innovation. These Challenges are part of the Government of Canada’s commitments to reduce plastic waste and pollution, while growing the economy and creating good jobs.
“Our Government is committed to ending plastic waste in Canada. We need smart innovations to create a more circular economy to recycle the plastics we consume. By providing funding to small- and medium-sized businesses through the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenges, we are giving a boost to the development of technology to address plastic pollution and help move Canada toward its goal of zero plastic waste.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Our government is supporting small- and medium-sized businesses by giving them the opportunity to push the limits of innovation and tackle major challenges such as plastic pollution. This funding will help innovative companies thrive while providing solutions to the auto sector ecosystem to mitigate tire wear and contributing to Canada’s transition to a cleaner and greener future.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Applied Quantum Materials (AQM) is very pleased to have been recognized as one of the Phase 1 winners of the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenge. Building upon our experience as a global leader in the design and production of silicon-based nanomaterials, this Challenge validates our plan to incorporate AQM's biomaterial additive into the manufacture of tires to improve their durability and thereby reduce the release of microplastics into the environment. A related goal is to reduce vehicular rolling resistance, which will reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. At AQM, we strive to develop small particles that generate big impact.”
– David Antoniuk, Co-Founder and CEO, Applied Quantum Materials Inc.
“The team at Nova Graphene looks forward to the opportunity to expand our focus from defence-related projects and help deliver a much-needed step forward in tire technology. We are confident that a blend of graphenes—including our renewable, biomass-derived Carbon Era Black—will enable the formulation of a high-performance, long-lasting rubber that will wear more slowly, thereby reducing the amount of microplastics released into the environment.”
– Paul Beasant, CEO, Nova Graphene Canada Inc.
“At Stema, we are excited to be working with Environment and Climate Change Canada addressing this major, and often overlooked, environmental issue. The focus of our solution is to create a new tire composite that will last longer, degrade slower, and can replace current tire applications. As such, we believe we can create a solution that results in a reduction in microplastic particulates while not changing the habits of our potential consumers.”
– Asif Khan, CTO, Stema Punch and Die Inc.
Microplastics from tire wear are a global problem and are recognized as a potentially significant source of plastic pollution.
Once released into the environment, microplastics persist for a long time and accumulate in natural habitats, potentially impacting ecosystem health.
Worldwide, it is estimated that 5–10 percent of microplastics ending up in the oceans, and approximately 3–7 percent of the particulate matter, or tiny pieces of solids and liquids, in the air is from tire wear and tear.
To date, the Government of Canada has committed over $24 million to Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses to innovate and develop solutions to address plastic pollution and waste, through 17 Innovative Solutions Canada challenges.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
Senior Manager, Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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