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GreenCentre Canada stimulates $3.2 million in investment in breakthrough Queen’s technology

December 5, 2011

KINGSTON, ON – A bold new approach to commercializing Canadian research discoveries in green chemistry has resulted in a $3.2 million vote of confidence from industry investors and venture capitalists.

The approach, pioneered by GreenCentre Canada, a national Centre of Excellence for green chemistry commercialization, has led to the development of a promising green solvent technology with a broad array of potential uses, from clean oil sands recovery to plastics recycling and oil extraction from seeds or algae.

The technology was discovered by Dr. Philip Jessop, Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry at Queen’s University, and forms the basis of a new Ontario company, Switchable Solutions Inc., established earlier this year by GreenCentre.

The investment, in the form of an initial equity offering, will be used to help the startup company bring its technology to market.

This investment is a significant milestone for GreenCentre, which was formed only two years ago by PARTEQ Innovations, the technology transfer office of Queen’s University.

“Our model is about turning great expectations around green discoveries into demonstrated value,” says Dr. Rui Resendes, Executive Director of GreenCentre. “In this case we proved the value of this technology so effectively that we were able to start a company and raise significant money to support it.”

“Both GreenCentre Canada and PARTEQ played important roles in advancing our technology from the pure research stage to the market-ready development stage,” says Mark Badger, CEO of Switchable Solutions.

“With Switchable Solutions’ initial equity offering complete and other financings nearing conclusion, we are poised to deliver technology that will have a transformational impact on our customers’ profitability, as well as a significant positive impact on the environment.”

Partners in the SSI investment round include strategic industrial partners, financial partners and management.  Approximately half of the offering resulted from cash injections, with the remainder through development services provided by strategic industrial partners.  The company’s shareholders now include GreenCentre Canada, Fielding Chemical Technologies Inc., Pressure Chemicals Inc., Stewardship Ontario, Nexcycle Plastics Inc., Fallingbrook Management Inc. and Switchable Solutions’ management.

Since its inception earlier this year, the company has completed numerous laboratory-scale applications of its technology to the extraction of bitumen from oil sands.  These trials have indicated the technology’s potential to significantly reduce oil sands processing costs and eliminate tailing ponds.  In addition, these trials have confirmed the ability of Switchable Solutions’ technology to effectively extract bitumen from difficult clay-laced ore.  The company is embarking upon construction of a pilot oil sands processing facility.

The company has also recycled trial quantities of expanded polystyrene plastic waste, including cushion packaging.  These trials have produced recycled materials displaying similar characteristics to virgin polystyrene.  A producer of plastic consumer products has now validated Switchable Solutions’ trial materials.  The company is embarking upon construction of a plastic recycling demonstration plant at Fielding Chemical’s Mississauga site.

Rui Resendes
Executive Director
GreenCentre Canada
P: 613. 507. 4700

About GreenCentre Canada:
GreenCentre Canada is a national Centre of Excellence for commercializing early-stage Green Chemistry discoveries generated by academic researchers and industry.  It is funded by the governments of Ontario and Canada, and industry, and it is a member of the provincially funded Ontario Network of Excellence - a network of organizations that help entrepreneurs turn innovative ideas into jobs. GreenCentre Canada is dedicated to developing environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional chemical and manufacturing products and practices. It is governed and operated with the assistance of industry members from across the chemical value chain. The centre is located at Innovation Park at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

About Switchable Solutions: 
Switchable Solutions Inc. is a clean technology company focused on enhancing the profitability of its customers while at the same time making a positive impact to the environment.  The Company’s proprietary Green solvent-based platform technology enables efficient, effective and environmentally friendly industrial and resource processing. 

About PARTEQ Innovations:
PARTEQ Innovations is the not-for-profit technology transfer office founded by Queen’s University, and is a partner in the Rideau Commercialization Network. PARTEQ works with institutional researchers and the business and venture capital communities to bring early stage technologies to market. Since 1987 PARTEQ has been instrumental in the establishment of more than 40 companies developing a variety of products, from potential drugs for Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease to automated bacteria detection for water systems, solar-powered appliances, and advanced materials used in the plastics, automotive, aerospace and household appliance industries.

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