Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are you launching the Challenge?
Globally, the battery industry is valued at $23 billion and is expected to grow to more than $90 billion over the next decade. Growth in other industries, like electric vehicles, has a direct impact on the demand for clean, high-performing batteries. This is a significant economic opportunity for Canada to develop innovative solutions to grow its industry and create high quality jobs while contributing to clean energy.
2. What is the goal of the Challenge?
The Charging the Future Challenge aims to increase the pace of Canadian innovation of battery technologies to strengthen the battery value chain in Canada and the world. The goal of the Challenge is to accelerate the most promising made-in-Canada innovation of battery technologies from the laboratory towards the marketplace.
3. Who can apply to the Challenge?
The Challenge is open to registered Canadian for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, such as companies, industry associations and research centres; indigenous organizations and groups; and Canadian post-secondary institutions.
To be eligible, the technological innovation should be rechargeable battery technology with the following characteristics:
- Related to the chemistry, design, management, or manufacturing process of battery components, cells or packs
- Not commercially available
- Be disruptive and visionary
- Have potential to significantly impact the battery ecosystem
At the time of application, the technology can fall anywhere on the nine-point Technology Readiness Level (TRL) spectrum. A testable prototype (approximate TRL 5-6) at minimum is required by the end of the project period (July 2021), including verified and validated data that show that the technology has achieved its performance targets.
4. Why should I apply to the Challenge?
Participation in the Challenge not only presents the possibility of receiving new funding for your breakthrough battery innovation, it is also the opportunity to gain visibility and profile your innovation in Canada and more broadly. Finally, it’s a chance to have your technology evaluated on its technical and non-technical merits (e.g. business value) by a range of experts.
5. What are the prizes?
Successful finalists will be eligible to receive up to $700,000 to complete their prototype development. Following prototype development, finalists will be able to showcase their technologies at a pitch event, following which a grand prize winner will be selected to receive $1,000,000 to scale up their solution towards commercial readiness.
6. How will you determine who gets prizes through this Challenge?
All proposals will be evaluated using the same set of 5 criteria:
- Impact on battery performance
- Impact on battery economics
- Tech-to-market plan
- Environmental and safety impact
- Project feasibility.
The Applicant’s Guide contains detailed descriptions of each of the main criteria that will be used to assess the quality and viability of submissions to the Challenge.
Finalists will be selected by a Technical Evaluation Committee made up of experts from within and outside government, based on their technical and business potential.
At the end of the 18-month project period, a grand prize winner will be selected by a jury based on the test data generated, and the strength of their business plan.
Successful applications will include a clear and detailed description of each of the following:
- The proposed solution and how it represents a breakthrough over current technological standards, in terms of technology performance and/or cost, backed by a strong technical analysis;
- The anticipated improvement to the overall economics of producing and using batteries;
- The commercialization strategy for the solution, including product definition, market size, partners and expected clients;
- Economic and environmental benefits of the solution;
- The strength of the team and the feasibility that the proposed project will be successfully complete.
7. Can applicants with projects currently receiving funding from other public or private sources apply for the Challenge?
Yes, funding from multiple sources is allowed as long as you are not seeking to cover the same project costs with multiple funding sources. In other words, total sources of funding for a single project may not exceed total project costs of 100%. For this reason, applicants are required to disclose in their application any additional funds received.
8. What are the timelines for the Challenge?
- The Challenge Launch – July 2019
- Call for Applications opens – July 2019
- Call for Applications closes – October 28, 2019
- Five finalists announced – Spring 2020
- Prototype submission deadline – July 2021
- Pitch Event – Summer 2021
- Grand Prize winner announced – Fall 2021