Alberta is setting its sights on non-transportation markets for oil-sands bitumen that could drive a vast increase in the value of production by 2035 – assuming that major technological hurdles can be overcome.
Alberta Innovates – a Crown agency – says the biggest opportunity lies in the production of carbon fibre, a high-strength material that can be used in wind turbines, automotive applications and the aerospace industry. The agency has launched a $15-million “Grand Challenge” in which 20 laboratories around the world are participating in research to commercialize the production of carbon fibre from the heavy asphaltenes contained in bitumen, in the so-called bottom of the barrel.
“We are finding new ways to use bitumen not as transportation fuel but as value-added non-combustion materials that are worth more than transportation fuel but with a low GHG emissions – products like carbon fibre,” said John Zhou, vice-president of clean resources at Alberta […]
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