Carbon Fiber Challenge turns bitumen into future materials

Oil sands are synonymous with crude oil, but new technologies are turning bitumen into low-emissions carbon fiber.

Alberta Innovates and Emissions Reduction Alberta have teamed up to create the Carbon Fiber Challenge with $15.1 million being invested in helping teams scale up their carbon fiber production technologies.

Competing in the challenge is Edmonton-based Thread Innovations. Cumulating from over seven years of innovation, Thread has developed proprietary and patent-pending process technology to produce carbon fiber from Alberta oil sands bitumen-based feedstocks.

Their innovative production technique has shown producing carbon fiber from oil sands creates 69 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional techniques.

The company says its technology sequesters the bitumen-carbon from combustion supply chains in an energy and emission-efficient process to produce cost-disruptive carbon fiber with global scalability.

With its lightweight and high strength, today carbon fiber is used in products like aircraft and spacecraft parts, racing car bodies, bicycles, hockey sticks, and golf clubs.

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