B.C. Technology Scores Market Success
VICTORIA – Using technology developed at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. has achieved the first commercialization in the United States of a process using municipal wastewater to make environmentally safe fertilizer, Technology, Trade and Economic Development Minister Ida Chong said today.
“B.C. is emerging as a force in clean technology,” said Chong. “British Columbia science, technology, and entrepreneurial enterprise, backed by global investment and the provincial government, have combined to score a significant success in the international clean tech marketplace.”
A municipal wastewater treatment plant in Portland, Oregon, will become the first facility in the U.S. to use the new technology to recover nutrients from wastewater and recycle them into a commercial grade fertilizer product called Crystal Green.
Ostara’s process, based on technology licensed from UBC, will be used at the Durham Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility in Tigard, Oregon, already recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as one of the top wastewater treatment facilities in the United States. The Durham facility serves more than 500,000 customers in urban Washington County, west of Portland.
“The Clean Water Services facility in Durham is the first in the U.S. to incorporate the Ostara technology,” said Philip Abrary, president and CEO of Ostara. “Several other commercial facilities are in planning and design stages after successful field trials by municipalities, ethanol bio-fuels plants and food processing plants in the U.S. and Canada. As many as 400 municipalities and industrial plants in North America and 500 in Europe are potential customers for the Ostara process.”
Part of the project financing came from VantagePoint Venture Partners, a fund manager for the $90-million BC Renaissance Capital Fund, launched by the provincial government in 2008 to attract venture capital. With US $4.5 billion in committed capital, including US $1 billion dedicated to clean tech, VantagePoint Venture Partners is one of the largest investors in the industry. The company led a US $10.5-million equity financing to enable Ostara to increase the pace of deployment at additional wastewater treatment plants.
“Ostara’s unique technology takes waste from one industry and transforms it into a high-value product for another industry. These are the innovations that will define successful enterprises of the 21st century,” said Stephan Dolezalek, managing director and clean tech practice head, VantagePoint Venture Partners.
VantagePoint Venture Partners is a leader in investing in game-change technologies and in building partnerships with entrepreneurs in the clean tech, health-care and information technology sectors. Located in San Bruno, California, the firm has a large, expert investment team, a broad network of strategic partners and advisors, and investments in more than 70 companies.
Venture capital investments, such as the financing for Ostara, can help B.C. companies create jobs in the province and market innovative technologies worldwide. Between 2006 and 2008, Ostara raised $3 million from investors through the Venture Capital Programs established by the Province of British Columbia.
More information on BCRCF and venture capital programs is available on the Ministry of Technology, Trade and Economic Development’s website at www.gov.bc.ca/ecdev
Ministry of Technology, Trade and Economic Development
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