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Case Study: Springboard’s 360 Cleantech project inspires an award-winning sustainable innovation

From the Springboard Content Lab Springboard 360 series cleantech

The Springboard 360 Series Cleantech project is helping a Newfoundland and Labrador Indigenous-led company develop a solution to recycle plastic waste from aquaculture operations. ASL Energy

The ASL Energy Corporation is using the concept of the  “circular economy” – highlighted by the Springboard 360 Cleantech report – to convert plastic waste into valuable products for the heavy construction and the aviation industry.

The Problem pipes

One of the biggest challenges facing aquaculture industry is plastic waste from feedbags, floats, rope and cage netting.

Because many aquaculture sites are in remote rural areas where there is an absence of nearby recycling facilities and landfill, there is a need for innovative solutions to manage the waste. With support from the Springboard and NL clean growth accelerator econext, a consultant was hired to zero in on the issue and identify potential for future investments to solve this problem.

The Ocean Startup Challenge

In 2022, the Ocean Startup Project issued a challenge to develop alternative disposable methods for plastic waste in aquaculture operations.

Ocean Startup Challenge encourages innovative entrepreneurs to develop green solutions in the ocean sector. The challenge was issued in partnership with econext and the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association.

ASL technology wins ASL technology

In response to the challenge, ASL Energy pitched a visionary circular economy solution to tackle aquaculture waste head-on.

They developed a mobile plastic shredding technology that transforms aquaculture waste into valuable HDPE chips which is a high-density material made from petroleum products like plastic. HDPE can be recycled to make into products like composite wood and plastic lumber.

These chips can also be repurposed to make a composite airport runway surface for the Canadian Arctic, a project currently in prototype development by ASL.

Using this technology, ASL will divert 2800 metric tonnes of HDPE and plastic waste from landfills in the first year alone. Shredding and chipping of HDPE pipes at the source will reduce the need for transportation by 80 percent, reducing the carbon footprint.

The Ocean Startup Challenge – sponsored by Springboard – awarded ASL $25,000 for this innovative technology.

Putting Cleantech innovation into action
ASL quote

ASL used the support to develop the detailed project plan and to create and implement a project stakeholder engagement plan.

The company worked with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exports NL Division TADD program to identify the equipment required and to develop the business case to divert the plastic waste in aquaculture operations into industrial plastics manufacturing.

The equipment has been procured and the mobile recycling solution is expected to be operating in early 2024.

Springboard 360 Series is an initiative to support the Canadian government’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2023. Springboard convened experts from industry, government, and academia to identify and support applied research opportunities to develop sustainable technologies in Atlantic Canada. It is supported by ACOA. Read the report here.