Clean Technology News

Leveraging chemistry to reduce environmental impact
Published on: January 10, 2022

Established in 2002, Kingston-based Kingston Process Metallurgy Inc. (or KPM, for short) is focused on helping its clients develop and improve their chemical processes. We spoke to KPM Principal Boyd Davis and Sebastian Alamillo, Leader of KPM-Accelerate, to learn more about how the company is supporting chemtech innovation in Ontario. 

Describe your core technology(ies). What makes your solution different than anything else on the market? How is your company contributing to a cleaner, greener future?

Boyd Davis: KPM does integrated chemical process development. Our work is rooted in techno-economic studies that work in concert with lab work and unit selection. We apply years of experience in industry and chemistry to testing and design for clear and realistic scoping studies or analyses of new or modified processes.

We take the view that chemistry can help us reduce pollution, use less energy, and create safer substitutes for materials deemed hazardous. The tools used to solve problems like new energy storage solutions, better water remediation treatments, viable carbon capture projects, or plastic pollution, to name a few, can be found in chemical technologies.

Other than coffee, what gets you out of bed in the morning? How does this work connect with your core beliefs and values?

Davis: We’re helping companies put together realistic processes that can have a significant impact on the world’s resources. We’re embracing economics and finance as challenges, not unwanted constraints. It’s a motivating way to look at things and makes for meaningful work in the end.

Sebastian Alamillo: For me, it’s important to support founders and impact-oriented work. I manage KPM-Accelerate, a program that supports chemical start-ups and accelerates their development on the road to commercialization. As a former cleantech founder, building this program gives me the chance to offer the services I wish I’d had. But ultimately, my drive comes from the fact that providing technical support for chemtech start-ups often means more clean technologies being commercialized at a faster rate than ever. Since it was chemistry that got us in this situation, it will be chemistry that gets us out and empowers us to combat some of the largest climate problems.

Tell us about a recent win (or wins) or your company.

Davis: We’re proud to have played a role in scaling up and commercializing Li-Cycle, which became one of the year’s biggest wins for the Canadian cleantech sector in 2021. We’re also working with clients on new processes to extract nickel and rare earths and recycle aluminum, but we have dozens of projects on the go at any one time. If successful, these processes will completely change the landscape for that resource.

What’s next for your company?

Davis: We’re about to launch a sister company – an aluminum foundry that makes specialty alloys. At a high level, it will be a global centre for aluminum innovation that allows us to do specialty alloy work to help make sectors more sustainable through novel processes.

Alamillo: We’re also working on launching a fund called KPM Venture Group, which will provide early-stage funding and effective acceleration for chemical technology companies. Eventually, we plan to invest in four or five companies per year. The fund is part of building traction, partnerships, and movement that solidifies Kingston as the hub for chemical innovation. We have an incredible ecosystem and opportunity to build something on a global scale here.

Finally, what’s on your team’s wish list for Ontario’s cleantech sector?

Davis: We need to break down the silos between sectors and supply chains and talk to each other. We also need to stop mapping the venture capital model onto cleantech. In many cases, we’re still working in an “app economy” mindset. Now, as we move into impact-oriented solutions, we need multi-disciplinary teams and deep tech. We can’t look for money from horse track betters. Our sector needs investors that understand the long game. Finally, we’d love to see more united branding for Canadian innovation.

Get to know #ONcleantech! Each month, OCTIA will profile a different member company or organization. Want more Ontario clean technology content? Subscribe to our newsletter.