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Vancouver International Airport and General Fusion leverage local innovative solutions through BC Integrated Marketplace

Vancouver International Airport and General Fusion leverage local innovative solutions through BC Integrated Marketplace
Vancouver International Airport and General Fusion leverage local innovative solutions through BC Integrated Marketplace

VANCOUVER, BC, July 10, 2024 /CNW/ – Three new projects have been funded through BC’s Integrated Marketplace program, led by Innovate BC. Two of these focus on strengthening operational capabilities at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) through drone-based runway surveillance and an enhanced paging communications system in the terminal, and the other will support the development of a state-of-the-art diagnostic component for General Fusion’s new Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) machine, called the Lawson Machine 26 (LM26).

“Creating innovative ideas and solutions that reduce emissions, improve competitiveness and support local businesses is essential to creating a strong economy that helps British Columbians thrive,” he said. Brenda BaileyMinister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “I look forward to seeing the contributions these three projects will make to people in British Columbia and around the world.”

Created to foster innovation in the province, the Integrated Marketplace connects strategic partners operating in testbeds (an industrial site such as an airport, seaport or mine, or a conceptual space such as a health network, a series of farms or a digital platform) with BC-based solution providers to implement, scale and export BC technology solutions. This framework enables BC industries to receive assistance in adopting innovation and new technologies, while participating solution providers earn a critical reference customer to support their growth.

These three projects are part of the Integrated Marketplace Vancouver Testbed at International Airport, which includes YVR, but also a number of organisations active in the area, such as General Fusion.

“As a key partner in the Integrated Marketplace Initiative, YVR provides an ideal environment for local innovators and clean technology companies to develop and implement British Columbia-made solutions that work at our airport and are likely to be applicable to other airports and industries,” said Tamara VroomanPresident and CEO at Vancouver International Airport. “We are very proud to be a test bed for innovation and to see solutions from this collaboration advance business in British Columbia, improve our operations and benefit our community and the economy that supports it.”

Diagnostic capabilities at General Fusion

General Fusion, which is part of the Vancouver Testbed for international airport, collaborates with VictoriaNew York-based Motus Design Group will design an electronic component that will enhance the diagnostic system for LM26, a fusion technology demonstrator that aims to achieve breakthroughs in 2025 and 2026, de-risking the company and accelerating its path to commercialization.

Fusion is the ultimate clean energy solution – it’s the energy source that powers the sun and the stars. Fusion is the process of combining two light nuclei to form a heavier nucleus, which produces a tremendous amount of energy. General Fusion’s two decades of technology development in British Columbia and its talented team of 140 employees in the province are bringing commercial fusion within reach. The company aims to deliver carbon-free energy to the grid with its proprietary MTF technology in the early to mid-2030s.

Under the project, a newly designed, unique component will enable General Fusion to rapidly install diagnostics on LM26 and support data extraction and storage. When operational, the robust diagnostic system will provide thousands of data points that are used to improve the machine’s capabilities on every run.

Predictive monitoring at Vancouver International Airport

Work with Victoria-based Niricson, YVR is exploring drone technology to assess the condition of its runways. The use of drone technology will increase the airport’s efficiency, as teams will have near-real-time access to data that will help inform operations and maintenance decisions. Data will also be applied to a predictive model, projecting future needs and considerations based on current conditions and defined logic for future planning.

Drone technology will also help reduce the carbon footprint of airport operations, as fewer vehicles from the fleet will be needed for condition monitoring. Furthermore, its integration into operations and the associated data collected has the potential to inform the wider adoption of drone-based infrastructure condition assessments at other airports and in other industries.

Mass paging on Vancouver International Airport

YVR is working on improving its mass paging or PA system in the terminal. With the support of Surrey-based Hybrid Audio Visual, YVR improves sound quality, provides accurate troubleshooting with the thousands of speakers in the terminal, and increases the personalization of the paging system. For example, with the new paging interface, YVR can isolate specific areas of the terminal for certain announcements, while all announcements are clear and audible for the benefit of travelers and employees.

The new mass paging system is not only more accessible and reliable, but also uses new technology and equipment. For example, speakers switch to a power-saving mode when not in use. This can save up to 40 percent in energy.

“The Integrated Marketplace connects some of the province’s key economic drivers with local innovation providers who have the ideas and expertise to evolve the way our industries operate while supporting their decarbonisation efforts,” it said. Peter CowanPresident and CEO of Innovate BC. “This series of projects perfectly represents what is possible through the program, and I am excited to see how both YVR and General Fusion can leverage these technologies for greater efficiency, output and impact.”

These projects are part of the British Columbia Government’s investment of up to $11.5 million and the government of Canada’s investment, via PacifiCan, of up to $9.9 million in the Integrated Marketplace. It follows the recent announcement of Prince Rupert Port Authority’s testing of zero and low-emission trucks through a project delivered through the Integrated Marketplace.

Additional quotes

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Emergency Relief and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“PacifiCan knows that entrepreneurs in British Columbia are developing creative solutions that are needed around the world. The three projects announced today are part of the Vancouver Testbed for international airports, with technologies that reduce costs, cut emissions and increase efficiency. These are examples of how the Integrated Marketplace program helps local companies prove their technologies here at home, before conquering the world.”

Greg TwinneyCEO, General Fusion

“On our path to commercial fusion energy, Innovate BC’s Integrated Marketplace program is an excellent opportunity to partner with companies like Motus Design in our own backyard. We are building breakthrough fusion technology right here in BC, and we are committed to collaborating with other local innovators along the way. From electronic hardware and technical support to diagnostics and data analytics, we are leveraging the unique capabilities of the thriving technology sector to deliver practical, clean fusion energy in the next decade.”

Josh EricksonCEO and Co-Founder, Motus Design Group

“Motus is excited to implement our digital optical converter technology at General Fusion. The technology is focused on improving the reliability and scalability of hundreds of channels of sensor systems required to collect and manage data on General Fusion’s transformative LM26 fusion demonstration machine. Better data helps General Fusion on its path to making British Columbia a leader in commercializing carbon-free energy through nuclear fusion.”

Harsh Rathod, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder, Niricson

“We are excited to leverage our technology to enhance the runway condition assessment workflow at YVR. The idea is to build the deterioration model with technology-driven datasets, to move from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance. Furthermore, to help the asset owner, the YVR operations team, to improve the efficiency of the entire inspection workflow (from manual to digital) to “flatten the maintenance curve”.

Stu WightCo-Founder, Hybrid Audio Visual Inc.

“Partnering with YVR and Innovate BC was a great opportunity for Hybrid AV. As a relatively new company, this YVR project has allowed our company to design, install and maintain state-of-the-art technology in a world-class facility. The benefits to the audience and YVR will make a noticeable difference in the intelligibility of announcements, system reliability and cost savings to operations. This system will undoubtedly be showcased at airports around the world and will bring YVR to the forefront of public announcement technology.”

About Innovate BC

A Crown Agency of British ColumbiaInnovate BC works to foster innovation across the province and stimulate local economic growth by delivering a wide range of programs that help start and scale businesses, access talent, and drive technology development, commercialization and adoption. Innovate BC also leverages critical data collection and research, and works to forge strategic industry-community partnerships that create more opportunities for BC innovators.

BRON Innovate BC

Press Contact: Michael Gleboff, Communications & Community Manager, (email address), 604-602-5210