Ottawa-based GaN Systems named to 2018 Global Cleantech 100 list

GaN
GaN chief executive Jim Witham

An Ottawa clean-tech company is among those being recognized in San Francisco this week for its potential to make a significant market impact in the next decade.

GaN Systems, which develops semiconductors using the highly-efficient gallium nitride rather than traditional silicon, was named to Cleantech Group’s annual list of the world’s 100 most promising eco-friendly firms.

Thirteen Canadian companies made the list this year, breaking last year’s record of 11. GaN is among a delegation of 20 companies invited to San Francisco this week for the 16th annual Cleantech Forum, an event well attended by investors and innovators alike.

GaN’s gallium nitride technology earns its clean-tech stripes thanks to its energy efficiency. GaN semiconductors can purportedly convert 99 per cent of energy taken in, compared to 95 per cent for the silicon standard. GaN can efficiently power everything from air conditioners to electric vehicles while giving off minimal heat, an important feature for the future of automobiles.

That’s part of the reason why BMW led a multimillion dollar investment round in GaN Systems this past August.

“I didn’t want to get financial investors, I wanted to get strategic investors. BMW was a perfect fit for that, and I’m really happy to have them lead our round. Electric vehicles are clearly a part of the future,” GaN chief executive Jim Witham told OBJ at the time.

Major investment rounds, third-party awards and industry nominations come together to form an initial crop of candidates for the Global Cleantech 100 list. This year, 12,300 distinct companies from 61 countries were nominated. A scoring system (explained here) whittled that list down to 312, where an expert panel helped to narrow down the final 100.

Clean tech is high on the list of priorities for the federal government, which recently allocated $700 million to the BDC to encourage investments in the sector.