Alberta Innovates, in partnership with Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA), has recently announced the successful projects for Phase III of the Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge (CFGC). This innovative challenge aims to transform Alberta bitumen into high-value carbon fibre, a key material in various industries.
The CFGC is a multi-phase competition designed to support and encourage the development of technologies capable of converting bitumen from Alberta's oil sands into carbon fibre. This initiative is part of a broader effort to diversify Alberta's economy and reduce emissions by finding new uses for bitumen beyond combustion.
Out of the 13 applications received, five teams have been selected to receive a share of the $15.2 million funding. These teams, based in Alberta and British Columbia, will focus on refining and scaling up their carbon fibre production technologies.
Their objective is to demonstrate the ability to produce 0.5 to 1 kilogram of carbon fibre per day, with a vision to scale up to more than 5,000 tonnes annually by the early 2030s. Additionally, the commercial carbon fibre produced must be at least 50% less expensive than current market products.
One of the noteworthy recipients is Edmonton-based Thread Innovations Inc., led by Dr. Weixing Chen. The team at Thread Innovations is exploring novel methods to convert bitumen into carbon fibre using vacuum refinery residue-derived and asphaltenes-based precursors.
Minister Nate Glubish, responsible for Technology and Innovation, emphasizes the significance of carbon fibre as a substantial opportunity for Alberta to diversify its economy and accelerate innovation. Similarly, Ministers Rebecca Schulz and Laura Kilcrease recognize the potential of these projects in creating new markets and reducing emissions.
ERA CEO Justin Riemer and Tony Loria, Board Chair of Thread Innovations Inc., also highlight the role of entrepreneurship and strong workforce in Alberta's shift towards a diversified economy.
The CFGC, co-funded by Alberta Innovates, ERA, and the Clean Resource Innovation Network, is a testament to Alberta's commitment to environmental sustainability and technological advancement. With these projects, Alberta positions itself as a leader in developing future materials and markets, leveraging its oil sands resources innovatively and sustainably. Source : wisconsinagconnection