Overview

Ambition: Canada’s airlines and airports are the world leader in low-carbon air travel.

This initiative involves a collaboration to stimulate the development and production of “biojet,” a sustainable aviation fuel. With this biofuel, Alberta-based biofuel producers and aviation companies will generate measurable economic and environmental benefits. There is an opportunity for Western Canada to lead the way towards lower emission air travel.

From a GHG emissions perspective, biojet offer the only viable way to reduce emissions from aviation in a significant and sustainable way – although price and policy are still barriers. From an economic development perspective, it also can leverage Alberta’s world-class expertise in diverse areas such as energy, forestry, agriculture, waste to fuel, and transportation to spark the development of a new Alberta biojet industry.

Challenges

There are a number of challenges facing this initiative. First, sourcing biomass feedstock involves how to get biomass sustainably and in an economically feasible way at volume. Biomass sources include forestry residues, agricultural residues, municipal solid waste (MSW), as well as waste fats, oils and greases (FOG). Second, biojet conversion technology requires advancing biofuel conversion technologies that can utilize Alberta pathways i.e. the value chain including feedstock and other stakeholders. Third, policy incentives and regulatory barriers require exploring leading-edge and progressive policies and programs that can be developed to de-risk investment. For example, this can include an offset program for aviation to fund biojet development.

Initiative Status

With the leadership of EFL Fellow Geoff Tauvette, WestJet has been a key stakeholder in this initiative, and also launched the WestJet Aviation Biofuel Challenge.

The EFL has also held an Accelerator on Mobility in a Low-Carbon Future to share leading-edge research on Alberta’s role in the movement of people and goods in a low-carbon future while accelerating innovations in hydrogen, biofuels, metals supply, and more. Learn about the outcomes here.