Chad Joshi is what you might call a veteran of the renewable energy industry. With a doctorate in science from MIT and over 60 patents and peer-reviewed publications to his name, he seeks solutions to the thorny problem of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels, and then, as an entrepreneur and investor, does the hard work to make real things happen.
“The renewables sector and I have been together for a long time. I got in on what was almost the ground floor, and it’s been a privilege to be part of the evolution throughout my career.”
Over a forty-year career, he’s been involved in efforts to tackle different aspects of the renewables revolution from solar PV and superconductors, to ocean wave energy harvesting. Today as CEO of Advonex, he develops sustainable hydrocarbons as a way to address our dependence on crude oil for plastics, waxes and lubricants.
"As an entrepreneur and an investor I’m bullish on companies and products that are on the right side of the low carbon transition."
Starting in university in the 1970s, Chad did his senior thesis on solar home heating. “It wasn’t the sexiest project, but it was very cost-effective during the OPEC oil embargoes,” he said. Others technologies flopped. During his graduate degree, he tackled superconductivity, which promised to enable super-efficient long-distance electricity transmission. “It was an amazing ride up and an abrupt ride down, and it gave me a first-hand taste of the volatility of the cleantech sector,” he said of the superconductor bubble that popped in the early 1990s. “As an investor, it’s the kind of lesson you don’t forget.”
Not all cleantech solutions take off, but from Chad’s perspective, the overall trajectory is clear: renewable energy will only continue to rise while fossil fuels begin their decline.
“Globally, the conditions are right,” he says. “Solar and wind have reached the point where they can compete on economics alone. Europe has created a stable and supportive regulatory environment that allows renewable energy developers to make long-term plans. China is now the largest producer of solar energy in the world, and, despite Trump’s best efforts, US state and local government are moving forward realizing that increasing renewability reduces energy market volatility and cuts operating costs.”
“Globally, the conditions are right...Solar and wind have reached the point where they can compete on economics alone."
“As an entrepreneur and an investor I’m bullish on companies and products that are on the right side of the low carbon transition. You can see this clearly reflected in my investments and where I focus my energy.”
Asset classes aside, you could divide Chad’s investment portfolio into two major categories: the stable stuff and the don’t-try-this at-home stuff.
With decades of experience building companies and taking new solutions to market, he spends much of his time mentoring young entrepreneurs working in the waste-to-energy, ocean wave energy harvesting and energy storage sectors--taking on interim operating roles to bring them to critical milestones, and in some cases joining them as a shareholder.
“I’m lucky to be in the position where I can take on high-risk equity investments in a startup. But as I close in on traditional retirement age, I’m also shifting part of my portfolio toward investments that offer more stability as well as dividend and interest income.”
According to Chad, Green Bonds, along with investments in annuities through Morgan Stanley, fit that bill. “My CoPower investments are less volatile than the stock market, and I’m exposed to all the high-risk volatility I want through my other investments.”
"As I close in on traditional retirement age, I’m also shifting part of my portfolio toward investments that offer more stability."
“Investing with CoPower is a passive way for me to contribute to Canada’s small-scale clean energy and energy efficiency industry. It’s something I was keen to support because Canada needs to do everything it can to mitigate climate change.”
“When I lived in the States, I thought for sure there would be ways I could invest my money in these activities. I looked and asked around, but couldn’t find anything. Then, not long after I came back to Canada I came across CoPower, and now I get to close the circle, putting my money back to work in the fields where my working career started.”
Chad Joshi is the President and CEO of Advonex International, an Ontario startup that uses its patented process innovations to produce high-quality hydrocarbon products from plant oils. At the World Bio Markets Conference in Amsterdam this March, Advonex’s technology platform won Bio-Based World News’s Chemical Innovation of the Year Award and was nominated for “Most Sustainable Raw Ingredient” in 2017 by the Society of Cosmetic Chemists.
Editor's note: Chad invested in CoPower's second issuance of Green Bonds (Green Bond II) as well as third issuance (Green Bond III) which is now available. This blog was solicited by CoPower and may not be representative of the views of other investors or potential investors in CoPower Green Bonds. Please consult the CoPower Green Bond Offering Memorandum for all material information in respect of CoPower Finance Inc., CoPower Green Bonds and the terms of the offering of CoPower Green Bonds.