“Working with the guys from Summerside Electric and the City of Summerside has just been fantastic. They’ve been great mentors.”
Stash Energy’s technology works in conjunction with a heat pump to store energy when it is at its cheapest point of the day for use to help heat
the home during more expensive peak hours.
Stash Energy, based in Fredericton, was co-founded by Jordan Kennie, Daniel Larsen and Erik Hatfield. Kennie and Hatfield are from New Brunswick while
Larsen is from Belfast, P.E.I. All three are students at UNB completing their masters in engineering entrepreneurship.
Since 2015 they’ve been working to create a device that uses smart grid technology to take cheap off-peak energy and store it thermally using a unique
compound they created to do the job and are working to patent. That stored energy can then be used during peak hours when electricity is more expensive.
The system works in conjunction with a heat pump. It’s comparable in size and look to a standard hot water tank
New Brunswick energy storage Startup Stash Energy is getting ready to launch a pilot program to test their technology in Summerside as part
of the Living Lab initiative. Stash Energy was founded by, from left: Daniel Larsen, Jordan Kennie, and Erik Hatfield. Rob Blanchard Photo
UNB University of New Brunswick
“Working with the guys from Summerside Electric and the City of Summerside has just been fantastic. They’ve been great mentors.”
The partnership came about because Larsen listened a presentation from the city during one of his classes at UPEI, which he
attended prior to UNB. He was impressed with the level to which the city was willing to support emerging and innovative electrical technology.
A couple of years later, when the group started to work on their technology, Larsen approached the city.
It’s great to be able to take an innovative project like this to the next level in his home province, said Larsen.
“I like that P.E.I. is doing something innovative and I think it reflects well on the Island,” he said.
“A lot of much bigger players look up to what Summerside is doing,” he added.
If the Stash Energy pilot project goes well, the company hopes to start offering units for sale within a couple
of years. They estimate their systems could save homeowners another 30 per cent on their heating
costs in addition to savings from a heat pump. “Big picture for the company would be to have one of these (systems)
in every home. But realistically, if one in four New Brunswick homes had our unit, heat pump and storage, we would be
able to decommission one of our coal generating stations,” said Kennie.
Jordan Fraser, founder of BamText, hopes to have one million people using his texting service by 2018.
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – BamText, a Charlottetown-based customer engagement company,
is projecting to increase their yearly users by nearly 400,000 in just one year.
Our business is based around how people communicate, and texting is the
fastest growing communication
tool in the world Jordan Fraser
“Our business is based around how people communicate, and texting is the fastest growing
communication tool in the world,”said BamText founder Jordan Fraser. BamText partners with
businesses across Canada and the United States, and sets up a feedback service, which allows
customers to text the store’s manager directly if they have a complaint while at there. BamText is
great for both the customers and the businesses, Fraser said. “It helps the customer get their problem
solved quickly. For businesses, it decreases the chances that the person is going to take to social media
and rant about their bad experience, which is something they don’t want to happen.”
Fraser had the idea for the company in 2013 after he had to wait for nearly half an hour, unattended,
at a sunglass store, before leaving in anger. “There had to be a way for me to let that manager know
about how bad my experience was there,” he said. Fraser searched for apps to do this, but didn’t
find any good ones. That’s when he thought of a texting service. He approached Keir Pollard, a
developer at the electronic company Fraser had been working at, with the idea. The two began
thinking about how this would work. “We knew it had to be free, simple and instant. The whole
idea is if I have a problem at a restaurant and text the manager, they get my complaint right
away and can do something about it.” After six weeks of development, BamText launched on
Feb. 12, 2014 and had its first client within two weeks. Since then, BamText has partnered
up with companies like A&W, Circle K, Pita Pit, as well as many small, local businesses
across Canada and the United States. They’ve increased their yearly users from 30,000
in their first year, to 110,000 in their second, to 280,000 in their third, and are projecting
to have roughly 700,000 by the end of 2017. Fraser said he’s surprised by the company’s
rapid success. “We’re only six people who work at BamText, and over the past three years
roughly 500,000 people have used our system. It’s incredible.” Along with the customer
feedback service, BamText also offers a text-voting product at food events, where people
attending can vote for their favourite dish. BamText also introduced a service last year that
allows golfers on the course to text their food and drink orders to the manager, and have it
delivered it to them. Looking ahead, Fraser wants to have one million people using BamText
by 2018, a goal he knows won’t be easy. “It’s a big number. We’d have to nearly double the
number of users BamText had last year, but if things keep going like this, I’m confident
we’ll be able to hit it by 2018.”
Solar farm will be installed at Credit Union Place
The federal government has stepped in with some money for a large solar energy project on P.E.I.
ACOA is providing a grant of $1.5 million for a solar energy gathering and storage system at Credit Union Place, the major sports
facility in Summerside.
The project will reduce the city’s reliance on carbon-based energy production.
“The city of Summerside’s Smart Storage demonstration project is an excellent example of the sort of innovative solutions that
will drive our economy into the future,” said Navdeep Bains, the federal minister responsible for ACOA, in a news release.
The total cost of the project has been previously estimated at $3 million, and the city has said it is willing to contribute $1.5 million,
because it expects to save about $100,000 a year in energy costs.
The solar panels would go on green space behind CUP. There had been previous discussion of placing some of the panels in a parking lot,
which would have cost about 10 parking spaces, but that idea has since been dropped.
Gaudet said it’s difficult to have a clear estimate on costs right now because the costs of solar panels have
changed so much recently. He said generally speaking, the panels could cost between $1.2- 1.5 million.
He said that’s $2.40/watt, and overall this project would be about 600 kilowatts.
There will also be the battery system aspect of the project, and Gaudet said there is no estimate for that right now.
Mayor Bill Martin said this project could be a done deal by next summer
Mayor Bill Martin said this initiative is part of a bigger plan.
“Our long term plan is to have somewhere in the neighbourhood about a 15 megawatt solar farm,” said Martin.
“Obviously it won’t be located anywhere near downtown Summerside, but it will be connected to our grid system,
which would get us up to about 70 per cent green energy.”
Martin believes this initial project will be in the works next year.
Forestry.io is a content management tool for websites.
A Charlottetown tech start-up is aiming to be at the “leading edge” of website management.
Forestry.io is a content management tool for websites. Once a website has been designed, Forestry.io can be used to keep it updated.
‘We’d like to hire some of the brightest minds in the region, and build really cool products and build a world-class business from here.’– Scott Gallant
Co-founder Scott Gallant says the service only launched four months ago, and it already has 5,000 users worldwide.
“We see this as the future of the web,” he said. “In a few years, we think, no developer will use a site like WordPress and, all developers will use the platforms that we support and we just want to be at the leading edge of that.”
The company was accepted into the accelerator program Tech Stars, which offered three months of mentoring and $125,000 US in financial support.
Six people are employed now with Forestry.io, Gallant said, and they’re looking to hire a programmer, a designer and some administrative help in the next few months.
Gallant hopes to eventually take the company public, like Ottawa-based Shopify did a couple of years ago.
“We’d like to hire some of the brightest minds in the region, and build really cool products and build a world-class business from here.”
By Natalia Goodwin, CBC News Posted: Sep 25, 2016 9:39 AM ATLast Updated: Sep 25, 2016 9:59 AM AT
Operations and Marketing Manager Peng Peng wishes the app was around when she immigrated. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)
Newcomers to P.E.I. now have a new way to find what they need to help them get settled on the Island.
From government resources to restaurants, it can all be searched, in multiple languages, on the new app called EzCity.
The app launched in June and already has 700 users.
It was developed by software solutions company EasyPEI. The inspiration came to the owner, Edward Wang, when he was trying to set up his business, said EasyPEI’s operations and marketing manager Peng Peng.
“The language and cultural issue, it’s a barricade for us to set up business here even though he’s very experienced in running a business,” she said.
“He needs to know, maybe, where to find the government department and where to find the accountant, the lawyer, all of these things and he has a lot of trouble and he suddenly came up with … this program.”
The new app aims to help newcomers better navigate their new home. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )
Peng said she experienced similar problems when she first arrived on P.E.I. to study. She made a lot of mistakes and said the goal of the app is to help newcomers avoid those mistakes and access the resources they need directly.
The app works like a search engine or yellow pages, users can search by category or keywords. The difference is this app operates with six different languages.
Peng explained that some words in other languages just don’t have a literal translation to English, which can make searching online difficult. But when a user can type in their own language, it makes finding things easier.
Users can search in multiple ways, including by category or keyword. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)
The app is free for users and businesses. Businesses can also buy advertising and sign up for additional services, like promotions, for a fee.
Most of the app’s search results are still in English but the team is working on translations and on making the app better, said software developer Jason Xu.
Software developer Jason Xu continues to improve the app. Next he wants to add an event listing. ( Natalia Goodwin/CBC)
One way Xu wants to improve the app is by adding an events function to show newcomers what is happening in Charlottetown and on the Island.
When the app is more developed, EasyPEI hopes to take it to cities with even larger immigrant populations like Montreal and Toronto.
Members of at University of Prince Edward Island’s School of Sustainable Design Engineering’s first graduating class have come up with a brand new solution to an age old problem for the province’s primary industry – how to keep rocks out of potato bags.
Owner Trent Cousins, who was named one of 21 young leaders for the 21st century by 21 Inc., has been working with the students on this critical piece of equipment that will keep rock-bruised potatoes out of bags where they rot and spoil the whole bunch. The marketplace is very competitive and “we wouldn’t want anybody else to get the edge that we might have,” says Cousins. Student Luke Bennett says his experience with his team at Allan Farm Equipment has been “just how learning to be an engineer should be.”
The 23 year-old Cape Bretoner says he has been calling friends at engineering school at Dal and UNB and telling them “you should have come here.”
What’s got him so jazzed is his third year project in this unique program model. It’s a real deal with a real PEI company where he and his team are helping solve a problem that has long plagued Island potato farmers.
“You wouldn’t believe the amount of interest we had from farmers on this,” he said.
Bennett says he is excited to get up and go to school every morning because he isn’t sitting in a classroom doing calculations, but heading to Covehead to put his book smarts into practice with an industry partner.
NEW Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Sustainable Design Engineering) at UPEI
The new Engineering school’s broad-based curriculum is hands-on. This year will see the first full graduating class. Last year, UPEI expanded its two-year engineering program to four, meaning students can complete their degrees in the province without leaving for other universities. The students have been divided into three groups and are helping fix design problems for PEI potato, lobster and blueberry industries.
The provincial government committed $12 million for capital to the new School of Sustainable Design Engineering at UPEI with another $4 million for recruitment, operations, and start-up costs for a total of $16 million.