Event details


Pop Up City Contest Pitch Event


March 23, 2021



The IDEaS Pop Up City Contest Pitch Event gave integrated teams the opportunity to showcase their water, waste, and energy management solutions for temporary relocatable camps to a panel of industry experts and stakeholders. Teams are competing for a chance to win up to $1.5 million towards the development of a testable prototype in the final round of this competition.

Here are the Round 3 teams who participated in the Pitch Event.

Circular City - Integrated Power, Water, and Waste Solution for Relocatable Temporary Camps

·       Innocorps Research Corporation

·       Pop Up City Inc.

·       Darcom Innovations Inc.

·       Eco-Growth Environmental

SNC-Lavalin Integrated Utility Management System (IUMS)

·       SNC-Lavalin Inc.

·       Reveau Technologies and Solutions Inc.

·       Ascent System Technologies

·       Growing Greener Innovations Inc. 

·       River Lab Inc. 

·       NOMAD Micro Homes 

·       Bluemetric

DEW Camp Sustainment (DCS) System

·       DEW Engineering and Development ULC

·       Osorno Enterprises Inc.

·       Innocorps Research Corporation

·       Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

On-Site Resource Generation Solution for Military Camps

·       Terragon Environmental Technologies Inc.

·       Tugliq Energie Co.

Robust, Efficient Solutions for Pop Up City

·       ATCO Frontec Ltd.

Technologically Efficient Solutions for Pop Up City

·       ATCO Frontec Ltd.

Introduction: A Contest to Develop Integrated Utilities Management Systems

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) must be ready to deploy on short notice, in any climate and for prolonged periods. The CAF presently relies on Relocatable Temporary Camps (RTCs) for its deployments that sustain personnel through demanding operational and environmental conditions.

The Department of National Defence’s (DND) Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program is calling innovators on to propose and develop solutions that provide integrated energy, water and waste management systems for the CAF’s RTCs deployed in national and international operations.

The “Pop up City” Contest is a multi-phased contest for innovators to propose and develop reliable, energy efficient, integrated and scalable energy, water and waste management systems for RTCs. Contests are a competitive means of finding innovative solutions and awarding prizes to the best solutions derived from the innovation community. Specifically, this Contest is seeking solutions designed to manage the energy, water and waste needs of a 150 to 1,500-person RTC, operating in a temperate climate zone.

To standardize the required performance capacity for system designs, contestants will be supplied with per capita data for energy and water consumption, and waste production, along with representative annual climate data, including wind and solar patterns. Contestants will be asked to provide scalable solutions that can supply the requirements of RTCs over a 12-month period in this climate zone. System designs which would also allow for the occasional deployment to extreme hot and/or frigid climatic zones are strongly encouraged.

Contest Challenge Objectives

The objectives of the Pop up City Contest are to:

1.    Stimulate the innovation and development of solutions that significantly reduce RTC fuel and water inputs, and waste outputs, while maintaining specified performance capacities.

2.    Build on Canadian strengths to develop solutions that achieve a reduction of current fuel and water input and waste output by the following specific targets:

1.    at least a 33% reduction in the fuel supplied to the RTCs;

2.    at least a 33% reduction of the current potable water supplied to the RTCs; and

3.    at least a 33% reduction in the solid and liquid waste requiring disposal from the RTCs.

Current Practices

The RTC serves as a staging base that allows deployed CAF personnel to project out on operations or training activities. The population supported by RTCs can vary considerably from day to day, depending on operational activities as well as surges due to rotation of personnel.

RTCs provide accommodations, administration shelters, ablutions, and maintenance, storage, hangar and kitchen facilities. Systems are in place for electrical power generation and distribution, heating and cooling, storage and distribution of fuel and water, and waste disposal.

RTCs generally include tents similar to those deployed by militaries throughout the world. Deployed personnel are provided a bed space in a tent that holds 4 to 10 people. The accommodations are co-located in a condensed area adjacent to the ablutions. Ablutions units are composed of a shower, a toilet, and a sink, each unit serving 10 members of the camp population.

RTCs currently deployed by the CAF rely on multiple, independent systems for energy and water supply, and waste disposal. These systems have not been designed to maximize efficiency, nor has efficiency gain through integration of the individual systems been explored. For example, the current systems do not allow for heat recovery or water recycling.

The current energy, water, and waste management systems for the RTCs can be described as follows:

1.    Energy

Current RTCs rely heavily on diesel powered generators for electricity production. Diesel-fired space heaters are used for heating.

Electricity is provided to the camp via multiple single speed generator farms that incorporate variants of 300 kilowatt (kW), 350 kW and 500 kW generators. To avoid low load operation, load banks are employed to keep the generators running at optimal conditions and efficiency points. Excess electricity not required in the camp is ultimately diverted to a load bank where it is converted to waste heat.

Cooling is provided by electric environmental conditioning units. Heating and cooling units are attached to each individual tent and are controlled by individual users.

The RTC energy infrastructure is not designed to generate, store or manage energy in ways to optimize efficiency and minimize cost and environmental impacts, nor is it designed to draw electrical energy from alternate and/or renewable sources.

2.    Water

Maintaining an adequate supply of potable water for RTCs is essential. Large reservoirs are used for potable water storage. Bulk potable water for ablutions and bottled water for drinking is supplied by local contractors.

RTCs use a lot of water and there are currently no systems in place for water capture, re-use, or recycling. Reverse osmosis is currently used in many cases to produce potable water, which while highly effective, is inefficient in terms of energy and water consumption.

3.    Waste

RTCs lack environmentally sustainable options for solid and liquid waste management. Past practices have included the creation of lagoons to manage liquid waste, and the burning or incineration of solid waste. Generally, grey and black water are stored separately in reservoirs and removed daily by local contractors. The ability to properly and effectively manage waste is further complicated by the need to operate in isolated, austere, and ecologically sensitive locations.

Desired Outcomes and Considerations


Inefficiencies in current practices lead to a higher requirement for fuel and water resupply and waste removal. This has the knock-on effect of greatly increasing the transport logistics during operations. DND/CAF believe that significant gains in the efficiencies of RTC utilities systems would have an overall beneficial impact on deployed operations. In addition to making better use of known technologies, this may be achieved both by the introduction of innovative technologies, and by combining these technologies into a single, integrated system for RTC utilities. Scalable and transportable solutions are needed that minimize purchasing requirements, transportation costs and logistical demands. The Pop up City Contest is being issued to the Canadian innovation community to address this.

Desired Outcomes

Successful proposals can incorporate existing technologies, modifications, or new innovations that can be developed to testable integrated solutions at Solution Readiness Level (SRL) 6 by the end of the Contest (See Annex A for SRL definitions). Integrated solutions for the management of energy, waste and water for RTCs are expected to deliver the following desired outcomes:

1.    designed to supply and manage given per capita requirements for energy and water consumption, and waste generation (data provided in Table 1 below);

2.    designed to minimize RTC fuel and water input and waste output;

3.    designed with secure centralized control, capable at a minimum of monitoring energy and water consumption;

4.    scalable for RTCs accommodating from 150 to 1,500 persons;

5.    designed for continuous operation over a 12-month period using the sample climate data provided;

6.    transportable in standard 20-foot (6.1 m) intermodal containers; and

7.    designed for durability and high reliability, both in transport and in operation. A plan for maintenance and replacement of hardware/software components must be included.

Contestants should note that reducing per capita consumption, for example by improving accommodation insulation or by changing personnel behaviours, while important, is outside the scope of the Contest.

Climate Considerations: Temperate Climate Zone

Contestants are expected to propose solutions that, at a minimum, are capable of operating in a temperate climate zone for a 12-month period. For the purposes of this Contest, temperature, precipitation, daylight and wind data obtained for Brandon, Manitoba.

The temperate zone extends throughout the world and includes variable climates of the middle latitudes (i.e. between the extremes of the tropical and frigid climates). The temperate zone is divided into humid, long summer; temperate marine; and humid subtropical environments, described below:

1.    Humid, long summer. This climate is prevalent in the lower middle latitudes of North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, and has the following characteristics:

1.    an average temperature of 22 ºC in the summer with a maximum temperature exceeding 38 ºC;

2.    an average winter temperature below 0 ºC; and

3.    an average annual rainfall of between 500 and 1100 mm with maximum precipitation occurring during the summer months.

1.    Temperate marine. This climate is situated on the west coasts of continents in the middle latitudes. Specific areas include north-western Europe, the Central Pacific Coast of North America, southern Chile, and south-western Australia and New Zealand. It is characterized by:

1.    mild summer temperatures with highs up to 38 ºC;

2.    mild winters with average temperatures above 0 ºC and in the coldest month a chance of frost; and

3.    an annual average precipitation levels of between 500 and 2500 mm.

1.    Humid subtropical. This climate includes the east coasts of all continents just north and south of the tropics. Specific areas include the south-eastern United States, south-eastern Europe, northern India and Myanmar, eastern China and southern Japan. It is characterized by:

1.    a long, hot summer season with temperatures similar to the tropics. The average temperature in the summer is 27 ºC with a maximum temperature greater than 38 ºC;

2.    mild winter months with an average temperature above 0 ºC; and

3.    annual average precipitation of between 750 and 2000 mm.

NOTE: The capability of a solution to operate for prolonged periods in extreme hot (up to 50 ºC) or cold (down to -40 ºC), as well as in the conditions described above will be taken into consideration in the assessment of solutions.


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