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Electro Carbon crowned the most innovative young company

Electro Carbon won top honors in the sixth edition of the Lesaffaires Start-up Challenge following a virtual gala held on June 8. The company thus won a $10,000 grant offered by the National Bank and several other prizes.


The day before, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) sounded the alarm, affirming that the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere had reached a 63-year high in May, since this data is measured.


However, the technology developed by Electro Carbon addresses this problem and won over the jury members with its device which captures carbon dioxide (CO2) and transforms it into value-added chemicals, such as formate salts and carbon dioxide. formic acid.


“Formate salts are, among other things, used as de-icing products for airport landing strips. As for formic acid, it is used in many industrial cleaning products, as well as in animal feed and in the textile industry,” says the CEO of the start-up, Martin Larocque.

For these products, Electro Carbon says it has started discussions with the largest importers and distributors in the country, and the latter would be ready to purchase the entire production when the devices are installed.


By carrying out a second transformation of the product, formaldehyde and methanol can also be obtained. Formaldehyde is mainly used in the manufacture of glues, resins and varnishes found in various construction and furniture products, but also offers several other commercial outlets.


As for methanol, it is mainly used as a solvent in varnishes, paints, cements, inks, dyes and plastics. It is also found in windshield washer and nail polish remover.

“Overall, the market for the products that we can design with the electrolyzer is 6,000 billion US dollars per year, without forgetting that the quantity of CO2 available is unlimited,” maintains Martin Larocque.

The company plans to have completed a first CO2 electrolyzer with a capacity of 125 kilowatts by the end of 2022 and manage to multiply its power by 16 by the end of 2024. At that time, the 2 megawatt devices would have the capacity to convert 4000 tonnes of direct CO2 emissions annually over a period of 20 years.


The start-up is awaiting the results of the latest series of tests carried out at the laboratory of the National Center for Electrochemistry and Environmental Technologies (CNETE), which will validate or not the effectiveness of the prototype.

“For customers to agree to pay to reduce their environmental footprint, we must be able to show an economic benefit at the same time as innovation,” explains Martin Larocque.

Two days after the Les Business Start-up Challenge gala, another co-founder of Electro Carbon, Ulrich Legrand, won the Environmental Entrepreneurship Prize awarded by Mitacs, a non-profit organization supported by 70 universities, as well as by the federal and provincial governments. The mission of this organization is to build partnerships supporting industrial and social innovation in Canada.


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