Innovators called on to develop cleaner burning aviation fuel for Canadian industry

aviation fuel
The Trudeau government is challenging Canadian innovators to develop a cleaner burning, more affordable and sustainable aviation fuel.  West Jet photo.

The Trudeau government is challenging Canadian innovators to develop a cleaner burning, more affordable and sustainable aviation fuel.  West Jet photo.

Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition provides $2 million apiece for 4 teams with most innovative solutions

Amarjeet Sohi, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, announced on Tuesday an initiative called The Sky’s the Limit, which the Trudeau government hopes will encourage Canadian innovators to develop cleaner burning aviation fuel to help transition Canada to a lower-carbon economy.

According to a press release from the ministry, creating cleaner fuels is central to creating a more competitive and sustainable industry that would help fight climate change.

“This unique challenge facilitates collaborations to support a game-changing transformation of the aviation industry,” said Sohi. “A Canadian-made sustainable aviation fuel will grow our clean economy and create good, middle-class jobs for Canadian workers.”

The Canadian aviation sector has already made significant investments in growing their fuel-efficient fleet.  Developing cleaner burning aviation fuel would help the industry achieve targets of carbon-neutral growth by 2o20 and a 50 per cent cut in CO2 emissions by 2050.

Mike McNaney, Vice President of industry, corporate and airport Affairs at West Jet said his company “is proud to support The Sky’s the Limit Challenge and the Cross-Canada Flight Competition, bringing together innovators, industry and government to work together to develop cleaner, affordable biojet fuel to help our industry continue to reduce its carbon footprint”.

There are two competitions open to a range of innovators, who could take home significant prize money.

The first competition, the Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition will provide $2 million apiece for four teams who develop the most innovative solutions.  The funds will be used to support their next endeavour, an 18-month competition to produce the most economical and environmentally sustainable aviation fuel and win the $5-million grand prize.

The second challenge is the Cross-Canada Flight Competition. The first participant to fuel a Canadian commercial flight using a minimum 10 per cent blend of made-in Canada biojet fuel will win $1 million.

Challenge organizers have engaged a wide range of partners to support a biojet supply chain in Canada, including researchers, feedstock supplies, fuel producers and consumers. Air Canada and WestJet will also play key roles in the Challenge by serving as carriers for the Cross-Canada Flight Competition.

The Green Aviation Research and Development Network, or GARDN, is a non-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada and the Canadian aerospace industry.  Executive Director of GARDN, Sylvain Cofsky said his organization is proud to take part in the initiative.

“We truly believe that the environmental challenges faced by the air transport sector can only be surmounted by a shared vision amongst industry, government, academia and society, where collaborative work is key to accelerate the production and integration of sustainable fuels in the aviation sector’s regular operations,” said Cofsky.

Teresa Ehman, director of environmental affairs at Air Canada, says the airline has already boosted its fuel efficiency by 43 per cent since 1990 and is investing $10 billion in a more fuel-efficient fleet.

“To date, we have operated eight biofuel flights, including our most recent one from Edmonton to San Francisco earlier this spring, demonstrating the potential to reduce our carbon footprint as we continue to foster and advocate for the development of sustainable aviation biofuels in Canada,” she said.

According to the Ministry of National Resources, the challenge will also leverage the international reach of GARDN to collaborate on projects that can reduce the environmental footprint of the next generation of aircraft engines and avionics systems in Canada.

The Sky’s the Limit Challenge is the second of five planned challenges under Natural Resources Canada’s $75-million Impact Canada Initiative, which is helping to drive innovation and accelerate the clean growth economy.




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