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Program at a Glance

Program Status: Active
Business Area: Advanced Hydrocarbons
Priority Area(s): Supports technologies that enhance the value of a processed barrel of bitumen while reducing associated emissions.


Program Status: Active
Alberta-based: Yes
Organization Type: Academic Institutions & Researchers
Government or Public Entity
Individual or Sole Proprietor
Multi-National Enterprise
Post-Secondary Students
Small to Medium Enterprise


The unique characteristics of bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands create value challenges for producers, as additional processing is required to convert the raw bitumen into consumer products like gasoline, diesel, and heating fuel.  Moreover, significant volumes of diluent must be added to transport the viscous bitumen via pipelines, which represent substantial operating costs. 

Partial upgrading technologies are those that process bitumen to enhance value while reducing or eliminating the need for diluent. This family of technologies can also provide better feedstocks for generating non-combustion products, like carbon fibre and asphalt binder, per the Bitumen Beyond Combustion Program.

The Bitumen Partial Upgrading (BPU) program invests in technologies that meet these objectives, while facilitating stakeholders with common interests working in collaboration, such as the Bitumen Value Enhancement Committee, formerly the National Partial Upgrading Program. 

The Bitumen Partial Upgrading program supports technologies that enhance the value of a processed barrel of bitumen while reducing associated emissions.

Open Intakes

​​Bitumen Partial Upgrading Program​ - Intake

Due date: Continuous

More details


Funding is open to all categories of lead applicant including technology developers, industry, industrial associations, small and medium-sized enterprises, research and development (R&D) organizations, post-secondary institutions, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, government research labs, individuals and others, who are advancing technology development within a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) range of 3-7.

Applicants are not required to be based in Alberta, but must demonstrate a clear value proposition for the Province and be able to clearly demonstrate alignment to the program area priorities.

For full details of eligibility criteria, consult the Clean Resources Continuous Intake Program Guide.

Successful applicants must be legally able to execute the Investment Agreement.

How To Apply

  1. Contact a Clean Resources Project Advisor, listed below, to determine if project scope meets the requirements.
  2. Register on SmartSimple, the online application portal.
  3. Complete and submit the Intake Form on SmartSimple.
  4. Wait for your Intake Form to be reviewed to determine if the proposed proejct will be invited to submit a Detailed Proposal.

For more details on eligibility and the intake process, consult the Program Guide.

If you have determined that your project meets our criteria, please contact a Project Advisor before submitting your Intake Form.

Evaluation Process

During the review process, Alberta Innovates leverages internal staff with subject-matter and business expertise and external reviewers to evaluate applications submitted.   

Proposed projects will be evaluated against criteria in three major categories: Innovation; Execution; and Impacts.  The considerations for each criterion are detailed in the SmartSimple online application form.


Shunlan Liu

Director, Partial Upgrading   

Open and Upcoming Intakes

​​Bitumen Partial Upgrading Program​ - Intake

As this is a continuous intake program, applications are accepted at any time and are reviewed regularly.


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