Advanced Hydrocarbons

Bitumen Beyond Combustion

The Bitumen Beyond Combustion (BBC) program determines the potential of Alberta oil sands components for producing non-combustion products (i.e., products that are not fuels, such as gasoline, diesel, and heating oil).

A techno-economic evaluation of products and markets will identify gaps and projects will be undertaken to address the gaps and develop technology required to create the products.

Program Objectives

The goal of the BBC program is to enhance and protect the value and profitability of oil sands operations, through:

  • diversifying the uses of oil sands constituents, resulting in high-value products that can be made by or in partnership with Alberta’s oil sands industry
  • accommodating increased oil sands production in Alberta by creating new and/or expanded markets for oil sands constituents and their derived products
  • offsetting a decline in the demand for oil sands based combustion products like fuels

The objectives of the program are to:

  • determine whether the organic constituents of oil sands have considerable global market potential as feed-stocks for non-combustion products
  • assess the techno-economic feasibility of producing non-combustion products from components of bitumen
  • identify knowledge, technology and market gaps for BBC products
  • develop projects to develop BBC production projects from R&D to demonstration phases that will lead to commercialization of the technologies.

The program will also provide long-range guidance to the oil sands industry and the governments of Alberta and Canada regarding the use of oil sands for purposes other than combustion products. Examples of BBC products could include carbon fibres, graphene, polyurethanes, polycarbonates, controlled-release fertilizers, and high-quality asphalts.

Program Contact Information

Name: Bryan Helfenbaum
Title: Executive Director of Advanced Hydrocarbons, Clean Energy division – Alberta Innovates
Phone: 403-297-4375