The University of Alberta (U of A) is set to receive major project funding and to partner up on developing a renewable jet fuel.

On behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan Jr., the Honourable Jim Carr, Special Representative for the Prairies, announced a new project on Wednesday, into which the ministry will invest $2.89 million.

The investment will support the university’s Lipid-to-Hydrocarbon (LTH) technology, by developing pathways to generate renewable jet fuel, from a range of feedstocks, including waste materials from the restaurant and livestock industries.

“Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050,” says Minister O’Regan.

The University of Alberta, along with project partners Alberta Innovates, FORGE Hydrocarbons Inc., Western Economic Diversification Canada, Future Energy System, CanmetENERGY Decon, and Edmonton International Airport, will also provide $7.4 million.

“As the airline industry and Alberta recover from the pandemic, the Alberta Biojet Initiative at the University of Alberta will build on our historic strengths in energy research and position our province as a key supplier of low-emission fuel,” says Bill Flanagan, president and vice-chancellor of U of A. “This funding commitment from Natural Resources Canada will help drive innovation forward to the benefit of both the environment and economy. The U of A is proud to be part of this exciting venture.”

The project will be led by inventor Dr. David Bressler, professor at U of A, and the technology has the potential to reduce the aviation industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent, creating a solution that is safer and cleaner compared to traditional jet fuels primarily derived from oil.

In addition to the project, the commercial deployment of the technology, with multiple plants in Canada, will create jobs and other economic opportunities.

The project is funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program, which has also provided support for U of A to collaborate with CanmetENERGY’s laboratory in Devon, Alta., to develop methods and processes for converting distillate cuts from the LTH technology into biojet fuel.

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