The global transition to a green economy has been a boon for the cleantech market — it’s helping investment in renewable energy and clean technology continue to grow, allowing the sector to keep building momentum.
Analysts see a few key trends dominating the cleantech sector worldwide, including solar and wind energy, agricultural technology, electric vehicles (EVs), EV infrastructure and clean energy commercial long-haul transportation solutions.
As 2023 nears its end, here’s a look at the top Canadian cleantech stocks on the TSX and CSE year-to-date; TSXV companies were considered, but none made the list this time. All companies had market caps of at least C$10 million as of December 14, 2023. Numbers were current at that time, with data gathered using TradingView’s stock screener.
1. NFI Group (TSX:NFI)
Year-to-date gain: 47.79 percent; market cap: C$1.66 billion; current share price: C$14.35
NFI Group is one of the largest bus manufacturing companies in North America, with 50 facilities in Canada and the US. Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the company also owns a number of subsidiaries in both countries.
NFI makes zero-emission buses (ZEBs) that run on electricity and alternative fuel sources such as hydrogen fuel cells. Although the company also makes traditional diesel-powered buses, its goal is to produce 100 percent ZEBs by 2040.
The company’s latest quarterly report shows that ZEBs made up 23 percent of its deliveries during the period. NFI said that requests for ZEBs now represent over half of North America’s total bid universe, a metric NFI introduced that ‘attempts to provide an overall indication of anticipated heavy-duty transit bus and motor coach public sector market demand.’
With 14 ZEB production facilities, the company can produce roughly 8,000 vehicles per year and claims to have the largest ZEB production capacity in North America and the United Kingdom.
2. Cascades (TSX:CAS)
Year-to-date gain: 47.23 percent; market cap: C$1.28 billion; current share price: C$12.50
Cascades is a Canadian paper company with operations in North America and Europe.
It makes tissue products and packaging materials made mostly from recycled materials. As the company explains on its website, its mission is to “contribute to the well-being of people, communities and the planet.” It has a four year, 15 step sustainability action plan that includes contributing fewer greenhouse gas emissions, consuming less water and using less energy than the pulp and paper industry average.
Cascades has been committed to sustainability for decades, having been one of the first major firms to contribute to the circular economy when it started making products out of recycled materials. In 1971, it began doing so wholly out of recycled residual materials at its Forma-pack plant. Cascades has also worked with the David Suzuki Foundation since 2016.
3. Aduro Clean Technologies (CSE:ACT)
Year-to-date gain: 20.65 percent; market cap: C$73.93 million; current share price: C$1.11
Aduro Clean Technologies is a Canadian company that specializes in chemical recycling. The firm is currently testing its patented technology in two pilot programs, plastic upcycling and bitumen upgrading.
The hydrochemolytic process Aduro employs uses high temperatures and pressure to break down non-recyclable materials and separate the individual components, turning them back into chemical compounds that can be used for other things like hydrocarbon fuels, synthetic rubber or new multi-use plastic products.
In addition to using its technology to upcycle plastics, the company is working to improve the quality of bitumen without the need for the traditional, energy-intensive process. Aduro’s process not only improves the quality of the bitumen, but also makes it easier to transport and reduces the environmental impact of extracting and refining the bitumen; according to the company, this increases both its monetary and environmental value.
4. BacTech Environmental (CSE:BAC)
Year-to-date gain: 7.14 percent; market cap: C$13.9 million; current share price: C$0.06
BacTech Environmental is working to create more sustainable mining practices. The company specializes in a process called bioleaching, which employs bacteria to break down tailings, extracting valuable minerals like copper, zinc, silver and gold from ore and waste material. This is done in significantly less time than with traditional mining methods and produces greater yields. Not only is the process more efficient, it is much less environmentally harmful.
BacTech is currently developing bioleaching and tailings facilities to process waste from mining operations in Canada, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.
5. dynaCERT (TSX:DYA)
Year-to-date gain: 5.56 percent; market cap: C$70.4 million; current share price: C$0.19
DynaCERT specializes in improving the fuel efficiency of diesel engines with its HydraGEN technology. The system adds hydrogen to the air intake of the engines, which reduces emissions of pollutants like nitrogen oxide, resulting in cleaner combustion. The company’s technology works with traditional diesel engines and is being used across a wide range of heavy-duty industries, including transportation, mining and construction.
DynaCERT has been collaborating with another alternative fuel company, Cipher Neutron, for a few years, with the intention of accelerating the development of Cipher Neutron’s Alkaline Exchange Membrane Electrolyser technology, a cheaper, more efficient method of producing green hydrogen. On November 16, the two companies received their first order for the technology from FuelPositive, a green ammonia production company.
Securities Disclosure: I, Meagen Seatter, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.