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Cargo airship network one of CanInfra Challenge finalists


Toronto, ON — A proposal that pitches the development of a cargo airship transport network that would do for the Canadian North what the railway did for Western Canada 140 years ago is one of 10 finalists for the CanInfra Challenge.

The “Electric Airship Transportation System” submission was made by Buoyant Aircraft Systems International, Inc., headed by Dr. Barry E. Prentice, a Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of Manitoba’s I.H. Asper School of Business.

According to the proposal:

  • The infrastructure required would be maintenance hangars and cargo landing platforms—the BASI airship is based on the successful designs of the 1930s, but made with modern engineering, certified aviation components and hydrogen-fuel cell propulsion.
  • The ships could serve the 70 per cent of Canada’s land mass that has no roads, operate year-round, carry large bulky loads (15-100+ tonnes) and cut the current costs of resupply by >50 per cent. Hydrogen-fuel-cell powered airships can operate with zero carbon emissions.

The CanInfra Challenge, seeks out innovative ideas for transformational infrastructure in Canada. The Challenge, presented by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Canada, crowdsourcse proposals from Canadians to tackle the country’s biggest infrastructure challenges.

Ideas are not limited to traditional infrastructure, such as bridges and telephone lines. The CanInfra Challenge is seeking submissions that include building a new infrastructure asset (for example, a high-speed railway), transforming an existing asset (for example, an airport), or enabling the development of infrastructure through innovative technology, financial structures, or implementation approaches.

The private sector, university programs, think tanks, and the public were encouraged to submit compelling transformational infrastructure proposals by December 31, 2017. Short-listed finalists will be given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges at the Canadian Transformational Infrastructure Summit in the spring of 2018. The winner will be announced at the end of the summit. There will also be runner-up prizes and a People’s Choice Award chosen by the public via online voting.

“Today’s infrastructure leaders have an opportunity to address Canada’s most pressing environmental, economic, and social issues, from preparing cities for growth to de-carbonizing mass transport to ensuring economic inclusion of all Canadians,” says Keith Halliday, director of the BCG Centre for Canada’s Future. “The CanInfra Challenge is about crowdsourcing the very best thinking from across Canada to fundamentally change how we live, set us up for future prosperity, and move us forward as a nation.”