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Realizing a sustainable future 

Products whose sustainability impact will be felt globally developed in downtown Kitchener and the University of Waterloo campus.

Velocity companies are developing products that have the potential to transform food waste into textiles, enable crops to grow in the ocean, nanofilms that curb greenhouse gas emissions  — to name only a few. Among our alumni community, companies have brought to market products that clean up industrially contaminated bodies of water, de-ice wind turbines and many other sustainable solutions. 

Take recent Velocity alumni Halion as an example. 

When Ryan Marchewka, co-founder and CEO of Halion, started working with Matt Lavrisa, co-founder and chief technology officer, on Lavrisa’s fourth year engineering project at the University of Waterloo, they were driven to solve the problem of phone screens not being visible in bright daylight, and as a result the battery draining too fast. 

Now the company has developed smart glass technology that can transform glass from a dark to light state at the push of a button. Which would, for example, improve fuel efficiency or electrical vehicle range by more than 6 per cent.

Students solving the future’s problems — now 

On campus, University of Waterloo students are participating in hackathons and innovation challenges whose solutions defy the current trend of climate change, excessive waste, and other global sustainability issues.

Winter 23 winners of 5K

Sustainability solutions shone at Velocity’s $5K pitch competition last month, three out of four finalists created startups that will help the environment — a strain of bacteria that can transform food waste into biodegradable plastics, AI-driven retrofit for waste bins to divert waste from landfills, and Foodage, that is developing machine learning tech to help restaurants reduce food waste by predicting demands.

Founder Osose Itua said her drive to reduce food waste is in response to differences she saw between her home country of Nigeria and Canada.

“In Nigeria, we are taught not to waste food — we do everything possible to preserve it,” she said. “Here, restaurants face complications to giving away food but back home if someone needs food, we try to give it to them.”

Solving sustainability challenges is hard work. Velocity companies and University of Waterloo students are putting in the work to better our collective future, right now in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Learn more about Velocity companies