Planetary Technologies: Harnessing the Power of the Ocean to Fight Climate Change

Posted: June 23, 2023

For Planetary Technologies CEO, Mike Kelland, choosing Halifax as home to the company’s R&D hub was simple. It had everything the ocean tech start-up needed to stay competitive: located just steps from the ocean, leadership in ocean science and technology, access to raw talent and a thriving clean tech sector.

“With our headquarters in Ottawa, we knew we had to pick a coast,” said Kelland. “I had met people in Halifax who kept suggesting we meet with this scientist and that business connector, and before we knew it, we had everyone needed to run a successful business,” adding that the support they received from Halifax Partnership and the green tech community overall is a strong testament to the inviting and supportive nature of Canada’s east coast.

Who is Planetary Technologies?

Founded in 2019, Planetary Technologies' vision is to protect and restore the ocean and climate for generations to come. They have developed a unique technology that enhances the ocean’s natural ability to fight climate change through carbon dioxide removal and storage. The company plans to be actively removing carbon dioxide by March 2023 and has set an ambitious goal to remove one billion tons from the atmosphere by 2045.

In the three years since coming to Halifax, Planetary Technologies has seen a significant amount of growth, going from zero to many millions in investment. “There is so much support for someone coming in and investing in the region, the multiples on your investment are absolutely huge. When we got to Halifax, nobody had really heard of ocean alkalinity enhancement and now we are seeing millions of dollars flowing into research facilities in order to research and grow the topic.”

And the growth is not just in academia – there are other great companies in the region like Dartmouth Ocean Technologies, Pro-Oceanus, RBR, and infrastructure players like Nova Scotia Power, who are also doing incredible things in the space says Kelland.

The Halifax Advantage

Kelland says the ability to catalyze in the region is huge. With one of the largest concentrations of universities and best educated workforces in North America, Halifax has a talent pipeline to support business growth and expansion, enrolling 35,000 students annually “It isn’t a big city by numbers, but it is mighty in terms of the specific talent that’s there. If you are an entrepreneur who can catalyze an international growth mindset, Halifax is great because there is a lot of spaceto play.”

Looking forward, Kelland says that it is not possible to have the scale ambitions they have and not think globally. “We want to be climate impacting; therefore, we have to think globally about how we work.” The company recently formed a group with Dalhousie University, Ocean Frontier Institute and Additional Ventures to establish Halifax as a focal point of ocean alkalinity enhancement research, supporting their shared belief that the combination of academic, corporate and NGO players coming together will be a powerful force to establish leadership worldwide in one of the fastest growing segments of the global economy – carbon.

With people in Canada, USA and the UK, Kelland says that Halifax is Planetary Technologies’ nucleus for research, and it is going to continue to grow in that way. “No matter where we’re doing this work, Halifax is going to be the place where the data comes back to, to be analyzed –the centralization is going to be key. Halifax will always be our R&D centre and ideally a large deployment centre as well."



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