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    Alberta is poised to drive an energy evolution that can change the face of the Canadian economy

    Alberta is poised to drive an energy evolution that can change the face of the Canadian economy

    Alberta is poised to drive an energy evolution that can change the face of the Canadian economy

    “Alberta is poised to drive an energy evolution that can change the face of the Canadian economy, ” says Alberta Innovates in their report “Bitumen Beyond Combustion”.

    Globally, fossil fuels still supply 84% of energy demand and account for about 75% of global GHG emissions today, however, the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s predicts fossil fuels will fall to about 20% of total energy sources by 2050, and oil demand will decline by almost 75% between 2020 and 2050.

    Alberta is seen as a globally significant centre of energy production and expertise, and a growing centre of clean tech expertise focused on transforming its key energy resources and managing them more sustainably. Recently, 5 oil sands producers who represent 90% of total bitumen production have committed to the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

    But is it really possible for the oil sands producer to reach net-zero emissions by 2050?

    Alberta Innovates thinks so, in their report “Bitumen Beyond Combustion (BBC)” they outline their strategy for Alberta’s oil sands to not only survive, but thrive in a net-zero economy.

    What is BBC or Bitumen for non-combustion and high-value products?

    Bitumen is a sticky, viscous form of petroleum trapped in sand found in northern Alberta. It is the heaviest grade of crude oil, and is a mixture of sand, clay and water. Once separated, bitumen is treated in refineries and it is converted to light and heavy fuels and other production feedstocks. The BBC program would divert the heavy fraction of bitumen away from fuel production and make it dedicated to the manufacturing of high-value materials. In doing so, the carbon found in the bitumen would be trapped or sequestered within the products and not released.

    Why use the heavy fraction of bitumen for high-value products?

    The heavy fraction of bitumen is highly viscous and does not flow easily. It contains metals and sulphur which make it a less valuable fuel source, but makes it valuable for the manufacturing of products such as carbon fibre, asphalt binder and high-value carbon materials. High-value carbon materials are structured with rings of carbon atoms. Bitumen’s heavy fraction naturally contains a high concentration of molecules containing carbon rings, making it an abundant feed source for use in manufacturing these materials.

    Examples of BBC products:

    The greatest climate benefit from BBC products may come in its application. Carbon fibre composites in lightweight vehicles increase fuel efficiency and reduce GHG emissions by 22 to 36% as compared to conventional vehicles. Similar benefits can be found when carbon fibre is used for rail cars, shipping containers and airplanes.

    The use of carbon fibre in concrete infrastructure adds durability, longevity and reduces cracking compared to existing construction methods. Activated carbon for rapid energy storage enables more efficient use of renewable energy by complementing battery technologies. Using premium asphalt binder derived from Alberta bitumen increases the longevity of road surfaces, requiring less reconstruction and the associated emissions. The opportunities are boundless.

    How Alberta bitumen products change the face of the Canadian economy

    For every million barrels of bitumen used for BBC, 470,000, or almost 50% of the barrels could be diverted for non-combustion products. The emissions avoided from combustion would be 65 million tonnes per year. Since bitumen is exported for fuels to be used in other countries, combustion-related emissions would follow the consumer. As a result, not all of the 65 million tonnes of GHG emission reduction would occur in Canada.

    Alberta is currently among the world’s top oil reserve holders, and continues to rank number one for environmental, social and governance practises. In future years, if the BBC program is adopted in Alberta, we can look to becoming an economic powerhouse both nationally and globally thanks to the our massive bitumen resource and the potential BBC products produced in Canada.

    To read more on economic potential of BBC for Alberta and Canada click here:

    The Aim Renewables Department has significant experience with Renewable projects throughout Canada.  Our clients are focusing on the future, and the development of renewable energy programs. The Aim Renewables department is a a multi-faceted team that does all project work internally; we do not outsource any part of our work – which makes our work timely, reliable, cost efficient, and a full service renewables solution.

    We offer our specialized services to not only meet, but go above and beyond your expectations.  To learn more reach out to Marci Hewitt, Renewables & Surface Team Lead | Email: | Direct: 403-452-3713

    #GlobalLeader #AlbertaInnovates #BBC #BitumenBeyondCombusion #EnergyTransition #CanadianEconomicFuture

    AIM-Land Circle R2
    Marchi Hewitt  
    Renewables & Surface Team Lead
    D: 403-452-3713


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