Bitumen Beyond Combustion Program Invests $2 Million in Research

Jan 8, 2019

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, January 4, 2019 – Alberta Innovates is announcing that the Bitumen Beyond Combustion (BBC) open call program has selected seven successful projects to share $2 million to examine alternative, non-combustion uses for Bitumen.  Successful applicants will explore opportunities ranging from using bitumen to produce graphene-like materials to evaluating asphalt made from bitumen.

Interest in the BBC open call was strong. Launched in April 2018, Alberta Innovates received 39 expressions of interest from organizations across Canada.  15 applications were invited to submit full project proposals and seven projects were ultimately selected to share $2 million in funding.  Researchers will have two years to complete their investigations.

The intent of the BBC open call is to explore:

  • methods of producing and characterizing (based on laboratory and other small-scale practical work) previously identified and other new BBC products and demonstrating their production technologies, thereby establishing their functional competitiveness
  • ways to validate technical, logistical, market, or other solutions to enable accelerated commercialization of BBC products
  • assessing the business, marketing, energy, environmental, and greenhouse gas (GHG) issues related to BBC products, their production technologies, and their uses.

BBC products include such things as asphalts, carbon fibres, graphenes, electro-chemicals, and products for construction and transportation. These products help ensure the resiliency of the oil sands sector and the province’s economy under varying market conditions in a carbon-emissions constrained future.

Alberta Innovates is pleased with the quality of the applications we received in response to the BBC open call. These projects position Alberta at the frontier of innovation as we develop new uses and markets for bitumen that reduce emissions, enhance value, and diversify the economy.Bryan Helfenbaum, Executive Director, Advanced Hydrocarbons, Alberta Innovates



Successful Projects:

Project Title: Researcher: Organization
Producing High-Value Nanostructured Materials from Bitumen Coke Jinwen Chen CanmetENERGY (Devon, AB)
Fabrication and application of short carbon fibers using asphaltene-based carbon precursors Weixing Chen University of Alberta
Multiphase Characterization of Bitumen-Based Carbon Fibers and Demonstrating their Use in Producing ‘Crack-Free’ Cement and Asphaltic Concrete Rishi Gupta University of Victoria
Design and Performance Evaluation of Road Base Courses Comprised of Asphaltenes Derived from Alberta Oil Sands Leila Hashemian University of Alberta
Value-Added Opportunities for Conventional and Atypical Asphalt Cements and Asphaltenes Derived from Alberta Oil Sands in Road Construction Simon Hesp Queen’s University
Low-cost Process of Converting Asphaltene into Valuable Graphene-like Materials Zhi Li University of Alberta
Vanadium Redox Flow Battery – Technology Comparison, Acquisition of Experience, Development of use Cases and Energy Management Strategies Peter Musilek University of Alberta

Alberta Innovates invests in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to drive provincial economic growth and diversity. We ignite the power of innovation through our work with researchers, industry and entrepreneurs to move Alberta to a lower carbon emissions future, enhance the responsible use of land and water, and contribute to the improved health and well-being of Albertans.

Alberta Innovates provides technical expertise, entrepreneurial advice and support, opportunities for partnerships, and funding to advance the best ideas. We support a broad range of research and innovation activity – from discovery to use. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do – bringing together bright minds and great ideas to drive innovation.

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Media inquiries:

Dwayne Brunner, Media Relations Manager
Alberta Innovates
780.429.9344 |