Nov 16, 2021

Alberta Innovates and CRIN select 12 projects for Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge (phase 2)

Source: Innotech Alberta / CRIN


(La version française)

Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge Selects Successful Phase II Projects

(Edmonton, Alberta) November 16, 2021 – Alberta Innovates and the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) have selected 12 projects to participate in Phase II of the Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge (CFGC). Participating teams will share $5.27 million as they develop processes to scale up and improve the quality of carbon fibre manufactured from Alberta bitumen.

Nineteen submissions were made to Phase II of the CFGC program. Alberta Innovates and a committee of experts selected the 12 best projects which will be completed by early 2023.

The CFGC is a three-phase competition accelerating the development of carbon fibre derived from Alberta’s vast supply of bitumen.  Phase I of the CFGC program was completed in early 2021, with multiple teams successfully extracting carbon fibre from bitumen derived asphaltenes. The CFGC program is one component in Alberta Innovates’ Bitumen Beyond Combustion strategy, which creates significant potential for revenue and job creation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Phase II of the Challenge is a $5.27 million competition supported by a $3 million investment from CRIN’s ecosystem development funds, and $2.27 million from Alberta Innovates. The competition was 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.

“Phase I of the Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge produced encouraging tangible results. Phase II will bring those learnings even closer to commercial applications. Alberta’s vast reserves of bitumen are the building blocks to create new low carbon opportunity throughout Alberta.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO

Alberta Innovates

“We are proud to lay the foundation for a stronger, greener, and more sustainable economy by investing in initiatives like CRIN’s Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge. These innovative, low-carbon solutions will create environmental and economic benefits for Albertans and for all Canadians.’’

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne,

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“The Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge is a great example of how CRIN brings together diverse members of the innovation ecosystem to enhance the oil sands’ environmental performance through technology development and collaboration. The project teams involved are showing great Canadian leadership to broaden the environmental and economic benefits of Canada’s oil sands industry.”

Joy Romero, President, CRIN

and Executive Advisor Innovation, Canadian Natural Resources Limited


Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge Phase II Successful Applicants:



Project Title

Alberta Innovates Funding



Total Project Budget

AdvEn Industries Inc.

Weixing Chen

AdvEn Carbon Fibre Pilot (Phase II of CFGC)




NORAM Engineering & Constructors Ltd.

James Lockhart

Low Temperature Stabilization and Bulk Processing Techniques for the Production of Lower-Cost Asphaltene Based Short Carbon Fibres




Enlighten Innovations Inc.

Lisa Doig

Carbon Fibre from Alberta Asphaltenes




University of Alberta

Zhi Li

Carbon Fibres by Melt Electrospinning Alberta Oilsands Asphaltenes for Reinforced Composite, Energy Storage and Thermal Management




University of Calgary

Md Golam Kibria

Process Development for Transforming Alberta’s Asphaltenes into High-value Carbon Fibers




University of Calgary

Joanna Wong

Low-cost carbon fibre precursors from Alberta Oilsands Asphaltenes




University of Alberta

Kevin Hodder

Producing a Mesophase Precursor via Electrochemistry and Induction Heating to Produce a Superior Carbon Fibre from Alberta Oilsands Asphaltenes




University of Calgary

Simon Park

Energy Efficient Carbon Fibre Productions using Alberta Oilsands Asphaltene




University of Alberta

Cagri Ayranci

Towards Large-Scale Unconventional Micro-meter Diameter Carbon Fiber Production




University of British Columbia

Frank Ko

Development of Alberta Oilsands Asphaltene (AOA)-based Carbon Fibres




Deakin University

Minoo Naebe

Carbon Fibre from Alberta Oilsands Asphaltene (AOA)- Phase 2




McGill University

Theo van de Ven

Novel Modification and Spin-Processing of Asphaltene to Produce Low-Cost High Performance Carbon Fibers








The Carbon Fibre Grand Challenge is directed towards funding the development of technologies that can convert Alberta oilsands 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. CRIN is supported in part by a $100M investment from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund. Join the CRIN network today.

Alberta Innovates is the province’s largest and Canada’s first provincial research and innovation agency. For a century we have worked closely with researchers, companies and entrepreneurs – trailblazers who built industries and strengthened communities. Today we are pivoting to the next frontier of opportunity in Alberta and worldwide by driving emerging technologies across sectors. We are a provincial corporation delivering seed funding, business advice, applied research and technical services, and avenues for partnership and collaboration.Learn how Alberta Innovates.

Media Contact:

Dwayne Brunner - Senior Manager, Media & Strategic Community Relations

Alberta Innovates

587-572-4091 (CELL and SMS)

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