Hamilton Highlights Newsletter – February 2014
In the February, 2014 edition of Hamilton Highlights…
- Success in the City Days Away
- Globe and Mail Coming to Hamilton
- Horizon Utilities Unveils New Program
- Hamilton Economic Development Wins Six Provincial Awards
TVO’s The Agenda Features Hamilton (February 25, 2014)
Hamilton company turns out powerful new idea
A Hamilton company test drove a new large-scale power system Tuesday it hopes to sell to the big players in the oil, gas and mining industries.
Eco-H Technologies Inc. took three months to build the unit inside a former sea shipping container. It generates up to a megawatt of power to drive large engines like a normal generator but then stores unused power in close to 350 large lithium batteries.
Simply put, the system levels the power load of large engines. It discharges energy from its batteries when load demands are high and saves it up when load demands are lower.
Company CEO Vince DiCristofaro says the efficiency of the Eco-H system saves fuel, cuts greenhouse gas emissions by up to 60 per cent and reduces wear and tear on equipment.
Instead of sizing generators for times of peak demand, users can size for average loads, he said.
“You don’t worry about the peaks and the valleys. We can give it and we can take it.”
The target market initially is the oil and gas sector. DiCristofaro says there are between 2,000 and 3,000 sites in North America that could use the Eco-H technology. Other markets include mining and aggregates and the military.
“This made-in-Hamilton technology will be shipped all over the place,” said Mayor Bob Bratina.
“Advanced manufacturing is part of Hamilton’s (economic) strategy. People who think manufacturing in Hamilton is gone are wrong.”
The idea of storing excess energy in batteries is far from new, but DiCristofaro says the price and quality of lithium batteries is now at a place where the technology is possible for large-scale industrial applications.
The first model, which was fired up and demonstrated to a group of industry stakeholders at the company’s Queen Street North plant Tuesday, will be shipped in a couple of weeks for two months of testing at an Encana oil rig site in Wyoming. Eco-H already has second- and third-generation models on the drawing board.
The plant can build seven to 10 units a month, DiCristofaro said.
Brian Murphy, engineering manager with oil rig operator Ensign Energy, says his company has eyed hybrid energy for about four years.
“AVL was the one willing to step up to the plate and build something,” he said.
Ensign, a Calgary-based company with 300 rigs worldwide, will lead the testing of the unit. Murphy says Ensign is always looking for innovation that will cut emissions, fuel demand and increase safety.
He says evening out load demands means engines will be able to run at more constant levels. That means big savings.
“Right now, we do major overhauls on our engines every five years or so. Keep in mind that costs about a quarter of a million dollars. We think using Eco-H could stretch that out to 10 years.”
Eco-H Technologies is a subsidiary of the AVL Group, which was founded in a former Stelco plant in 1998. It began as a machining and fabricating operation for the steel industry but has shifted focus to power generation.
AVL Group divisions also include AVL Manufacturing and One Power, which has developed all-in-one portable power equipment systems for disaster relief, construction, and remote industries.
The total workforce in the 95,000-square-foot plant is almost 50.
Article courtesy of Meredith MacLeod, The Hamilton Spectator
$12-million cargo warehouse coming to Hamilton airport
A $12-million air cargo warehouse is getting clearance to land at Hamilton airport.
The facility is being funded through a joint partnership between the federal, provincial and city governments and TradePort International Corporation, the private company that operates the airport under a long-term lease from the city.
New artist renderings of the Air Cargo Logistics Facility show it will have direct access from the airport’s landing strips and will be located on a redeveloped piece of land.
It is slated to open in 2015.
The facility will be equipped with multiple trucking docks and specialized handling environments for niche markets such as pharmaceutical and biomedical industries, automobile manufacturing and perishable goods.
In a news release, airport management said a focus “on customized solutions for the efficient movement of such goods in and out of the southern Ontario region will further support the development of clean industries in and around the Hamilton area.
“The Facility will add to Hamilton’s strength as a multi-modal gateway for goods movement and set a strong footing for future development of the Airport Employment Growth District, a city initiative to develop designated lands surrounding the Airport for light industrial and commercial activities.”
A tender for construction of the facility will be released shortly. Details are to be posted on the Internet site of John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport at flyhamilton.ca/business.
A recruitment process is also underway to secure a dedicated handling agent committed for the facility.
Any one interested in business development opportunities within the facility is welcome contact Lauren Yaksich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch thespec.com for updates and see the full story in Tuesday’s Spectator.
Article courtesy of Steve Arnold, The Hamilton Spectator
Life Science cluster is chance of a lifetime for Hamilton
Hamilton has everything it needs to be a Canadian life sciences leader, except leadership.
A new study by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce seeks to plug that gap by forming a new group to ignite development in the sector.
The study shows the city once known for steel and heavy manufacturing now is vying for the title of Canada’s health care capital.
To get that title, the study calls for a new leader to focus on the sector.
Entitled Building a Life Science Cluster, the report says Hamilton has a “once-in-a-generation” chance to develop a new source of economic and social wealth if it can get all the players already in that field working together.
Chamber president Keanin Loomis said developing such a cluster has been talked about for years in Hamilton, but now there’s a clear road map to get there.
“This report isn’t just fluff, platitudes and generalities,” he said. “It’s the culmination of almost three years of work. It took a long time but it was done right.”
Loomis added the mere fact of doing the study helped focus the attention of players on the need to work together, and that should pay dividends in the future.
The chamber report said Hamilton already has the tools needed to build that cluster — what it needs is a catalyst to get all the other elements working together.
“Hamilton needs to increase the amount of dedicated infrastructure designed to nurture the formation of this industry cluster, such as life sciences incubation space. We have insufficient venture capital flowing to the region, and there are too few programs working to promote and exploit Hamilton’s life sciences assets, or to create a culture of commercialization within the life sciences sector itself,” the report notes. “Arguably, we also lack significant business expertise required to commercialize and support business ventures. Most importantly, there is no driving force or chief advocate leading the charge for the establishment of a life sciences industry cluster in Hamilton.”
To overcome that lack the chamber calls for the formation of a cluster working group consisting of leaders from the public and private sectors to ignite the next phase of development.
The report grew out of recommendations from the 2012 Hamilton Economic Summit. It notes there are 300 Hamilton companies involved in some type of life sciences work supporting 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. Players include firms such as Titan Medical Inc. which has a research facility in Ancaster working on new robotic surgical technology; Face the World Cosmetics, specializing in camouflage therapy for people with severe skin conditions and Hamilton Medical Research Group which works on developing new drugs and getting them to market.
The latest Labour Force Survey numbers from Statistics Canada show 53,300 people employed in manufacturing in December, up 9.8 per cent from the previous January. The professional/scientific and health service categories provided 81,500 jobs, up 10.4 per cent from January 2013.
The chamber report concludes building a successful life sciences cluster requires five elements: a critical mass of knowledge and talent; an industrial base; infrastructure and funding; the support of players in the sector; and a driving force.
Hamilton is ranked excellent or good on the knowledge and support of players scales, fair on the state of its life sciences industrial base and fair-to-poor on infrastructure and the lack of a driving force for development.
Developing a life sciences cluster has been part of Hamilton’s economic development strategy since 2010. Norm Schleehahn, the department business development manager, said in an email exchange Hamilton’s base of knowledge and institutions make the goal an achievable one for the city.
“We have a strong knowledge infrastructure with internationally ranked life science research institutions … and significant investments in developing technologists to address the service side of health care delivery,” he wrote.
Mayor Bob Bratina called the report “a good overview” of an important issue for the city and said he hopes to be able to bring a recommendation to council soon to “address some of the issues in the report.”
Key players in such a cluster will be institutions such as Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), McMaster University and the McMaster Innovation Park (MIP).
Rob MacIsaac, new chief executive of HHS, praised the chamber for showing leadership on the issue and said the hospital network “will be at the table” when the strategy is set.
“I think it’s a no-brainer to anyone in Hamilton that we can achieve more by working together than we can alone,” he said. “This is a good first step in what we have to do.”
Zach Douglas, president of MIP, said his institution is already involved in the effort by creating a large incubator space. What’s more exciting, he added, is the sense all the players in the cluster accept the idea they have to work together.
“There’s clear evidence that some things are happening around here but more of it can be done,” he said. “Now we have to get everyone together to digest this report and see if there’s a way to move forward.”
Article courtesy of Steve Arnold, The Hamilton Spectator