Creating Carbon Fibre from Bitumen

$5 Million to support Phase II of the Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge

EDMONTON, Alberta, March 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alberta Innovates and the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) are announcing the completion of Phase I of the Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge and the launch of Phase II. 19 teams from across Canada, the United States and Australia participated in Phase I of the competition where several demonstrated they could produce strands of carbon fibre from Alberta bitumen.

In Phase II of the Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge, teams will focus on producing larger volumes of carbon fibre with higher performance properties. Teams will also focus on progressing the technology and the pathway to manage sulfur and metal content in asphaltenes. The Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge is a three-phase competition that accelerates the development, and large-scale production, of carbon fibre derived from Alberta’s vast supply of bitumen.

Phase II of the Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge is a $5 million competition supported by a $3 million investment from CRIN through ecosystem development funds provided by the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), and $2 million from Alberta Innovates. The competition is open to technology developers, industry (including small, medium and large size enterprises), industry associations, research and development (R&D) organizations, post-secondary institutions, not-for-profit organizations, and government research labs. Research teams can submit applications for Phase II on the Alberta Innovates website.

A Phase II information webinar will be hosted on March 23, 2021 to inform potential applicants of all the program details. As well, full Phase II program details can be found on the Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge website.


“Alberta is on the cutting edge of innovation in energy and developing new technology. Finding new ways to make carbon fibre from Alberta’s bitumen diversifies our oil and gas sector, creates jobs, opens new markets and grows the economy.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, Government of Alberta

“Carbon Fibre is a real and practical alternative to traditional uses for Alberta’s vast bitumen reserves. The value locked in Alberta’s resources is tremendous. The work we do today, and the discoveries that we are making, will provide benefits for Albertans for decades to come.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“In 2015, six oil sands companies helped launch the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a cross-border initiative to energize the global race to unlock valuable uses for CO2 with the XPRIZE Foundation. In 2021, Canada is again blazing a trail the world will follow, by focusing innovators on transforming hydrocarbons into a gigatonne-scale decarbonization solution.”

Jason Switzer, Board Director, Clean Resource Innovation Network and Executive Director, ACTia

Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge Phase II applications will be accepted until 2:00 p.m. (MDT) on April 27, 2021.

Successful applicants can apply for up to $500 thousand for Phase II projects.

The Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge is directed towards funding the development of technologies that can convert Alberta oil sands asphaltenes into carbon fibre. Alberta Innovates was the sole funder for Phase I and is working with partners to support Phases II and III of the Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge. The Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) is co-funding Phase II along with Alberta Innovates.

The Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) is a pan-Canadian network focused on ensuring Canada’s hydrocarbon resources are sustainably developed and integrated into the global energy systems. CRIN, as a ‘network of networks,’ connects a vast array of skills, knowledge and experience from oil and gas and other industries to technology developers, researchers, government, investors, academia, entrepreneurs, youth and many other sectors. By identifying industry challenges, we create a market pull to accelerate commercialization and widespread clean technology adoption with environmental, economic and public benefits for Canada. Join the CRIN network today.

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 future, promote 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.

Media Contact:
Dwayne Brunner - Manager, Media Relations
Alberta Innovates
587-572-4091 (CELL and SMS)