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Innocorps Unveils Circular City to Win $2M Defence Competition

Wednesday, 15 November 2023 09:32

Circular City pioneers off-grid integrated utilities, demonstrating the world's first off-grid mobile wastewater recycling system powered with renewable energy and carbon neutral heat, heralding a new era of sustainability through circularity.

SASKATOON, SK / ACCESSWIRE / November 15, 2023 / Innocorps Research, leader of the Circular City consortium, emerged victorious in the fourth and final round of the Department of National Defence's Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Pop up city Contest held August 19 - 26, 2023, at CFB Suffield, Alberta. This head-to-head competition led to the development and validation of innovative solutions at scale that significantly reduce fuel, water and waste logistics and costs for the Canadian Armed Forces' relocatable temporary camps (RTCs), used in both domestic and international operations.

Breaking the Linear Mold: A Practical Approach to Sustainability through Circularity

As part of the IDEaS Pop up city contest, Circular City was asked to rethink the conventional approach of engineering each camp utility subsystem separately by looking holistically at how to integrate and simplify water, waste and energy subsystems together. This circular design philosophy was successfully demonstrated at CFB Suffield, with significant reduction in resource use during the competition.

"How do you sustain the life-critical needs of 150 people deployed anywhere in the world, in a camp that needs to be rapidly set up and torn down within days?" remarked Aarya Shahsavar, P.Eng., CEO, Innocorps Research and Chief Engineer for Circular City. "That was the problem we were asked to solve. We can now potentially enable people to build and live sustainably anywhere as these technologies are further scaled up. This victory is both validation of Circular City's technology and a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team over the last four years in developing the sustainable necessities we need for life here on Earth."

Central to Circular City's victory was the world-first demonstration of a mobile direct potable water reuse system, which safely recycled wastewater back to purified potable water - meeting Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. Carbon neutral heat integration from the solid waste to energy subsystem to the water subsystem was used to provide the hot water supply for the camp with excess heat available to further reduce heating and fuel demands, vital for future operations in colder climates and regions such as the Arctic.

Notable Achievements

  • World's first deployment of a mobile direct potable reuse system, demonstrating the ability to recycle both greywater and combined greywater/blackwater (wastewater) to purified potable water;
  • State-of-the-art ultra-high recovery reverse osmosis subsystem enabled by batch reverse osmosis technology achieved recovery ratios up to 90 - 95% in a direct potable reuse application;
  • Carbon neutral supply of hot water via patented integration of solid waste and water subsystems eliminated the need to use fuel for domestic hot water heating;
  • A tenfold reduction of solid waste; and
  • Rapidly deployable microgrid with advanced climate control that enabled reliable off-grid power for the entire camp from solar, batteries and generators without unplanned downtime in a variety of challenging environments.

The Circular City Team

The consortium brought together several organizations and technologies to enable success: 

  • Innocorps Research Corp. as team leader and Prime Contractor was responsible for the design, development and system integration of Circular City, most critically designing and building the innovative water and wastewater recycling system.
  • Eco-Growth Environmental Inc. provided landfill avoidance and waste-to-energy technology using dehydrators and gasification, significantly reducing solid waste while offering a carbon neutral source of waste heat.
  • Pop Up City Inc., a subsidiary of Continest Technologies Plc. provided a Continest CN20 Standard Container System used as mobile command centre and on-site laboratory, and rapidly deployed solar arrays from AXSOL GmbH to increase solar capacity of the microgrid.
  • Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) provided the Hybrid Energy Container, integrating diesel generators, inverters and lithium-iron phosphate batteries together with container-integrated pop-up solar arrays to provide the backbone of the microgrid. 
  • Harmony Desalination Corp. (dba Harmony Desalting) showcased its globally award-winning batch reverse osmosis technology, key to achieving the high recovery ratios.
  • Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) is contributing essential research and reporting through its Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) on the setup, commissioning and performance metrics of Circular City during the contest, in addition to being critical in the early phases of the IDEaS contest team forming and concept development.

Success at the Pop up city Contest is just the beginning. Circular City is primed to redefine logistics for expeditionary military bases, mine camps, remote communities and disaster response units. Innocorps is looking to partner and scale this technology to enable sustainable housing developments, business parks, hotels and more. We envision a world where the key technologies of Circular City eliminate the risk of water scarcity, while providing climate-resilient infrastructure that will be necessary to build in the coming decade.

Innocorps Research extends its gratitude towards the Department of National Defence, consortium partners and all stakeholders involved in this transformative project. The journey towards a sustainable and efficient future continues with undeterred dedication and collaborative spirit.

This project has been made possible through funding by the Government of Canada to develop new solutions to provide integrated energy, water and waste management systems for RTCs used by the Canadian Armed Forces.

About Innocorps Research

Founded in 2009, Innocorps Research has been at the forefront of creating technologies for sustainable necessities. Starting with an initial vision of developing key recycling technologies to address water scarcity, the team has grown and achieved patents in multiple countries, focusing on sustainable water solutions for a variety of applications. As Prime Contractor and leader of Circular City through the Pop up city Contest, Innocorps has now become a global leader in the new circular economy, developing deep domain expertise in what we call the sustainable necessities for life: integrated water, waste, and energy systems. For more information, visit to stay connected as we announce further information about the future of Circular City and Innocorps.

About IDEaS

Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) is a defence innovation program which invests in research and technology aimed at meeting the demands of today's complex global defence and security environment. Since launching in April 2018, IDEaS has been working with Canadian innovators to develop the S&T landscape, and is helping turn innovative thinking into tangible solutions for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF), as well as Canadians. Visit the IDEaS website to get updates on the latest challenges issued by the program.

Media Contact

Aarya Shahsavar, P.Eng.
CEO, Innocorps Research Corp. & Chief Engineer of Circular City
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1 877-488-6861 ext. 101

Visuals available for media use

SOURCE: Innocorps

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