Wings Magazine

Feds launch aviation eco-fuel challenge

Natural Resources Canada introduced two competitions under its Sky's the Limit Challenge with monetary prizes for companies that develop the cleanest, most affordable and sustainable fuel for the aviation sector. This competition is part of Natural Resources Canada’s $75-million Impact Canada Initiative to drive innovation and accelerate what the government labels as the clean growth economy.

August 20, 2018  By Wings Staff

The Sky’s the Limit Challenge is meant to stimulate the development of sustainable aviation fuel supply chains so that the Canadian aviation industry can further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and lower the flying public’s environmental footprint. Reducing the aviation industry’s environmental footprint, explains the government, is critical for Canada’s transition to a lower-carbon economy.

Acknowledging that the Canadian aviation sector has made significant investments in a fuel-efficient fleet, the government explains other measures such as sustainable aviation fuel will be required to achieve industry targets of carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

The Sky’s the Limit Challenge consists of two competitions, beginning with the Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition, which provides $2 million apiece for four teams that develop the most innovative solutions. These results are then meant to move into a second 18-month phase to produce the most economical and environmentally sustainable aviation fuel. This will provide one winner with a $5-million grand prize.

The second Cross-Canada Flight Competition will be won by the first participant to fuel a Canadian commercial flight using a minimum 10 per cent blend of made-in-Canada biojet fuel. The prize money for this competition is $1 million. Air Canada and WestJet will play key roles in this second competition by serving as carriers.


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

The Sky’s the Limit Challenge leverages Canada’s Green Aviation Research and Development Network, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to collaborate on projects that can reduce the environmental footprint of the next generation of aircraft engines and avionics systems in Canada.

The Government of Canada is exploring opportunities to purchase biojet fuel for future use in federal aviation fleets once it is commercially available at a competitive price. The Department of National Defence and Transport Canada have indicated their early support for this venture.

“WestJet 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,” said Mike McNaney, vice president, industry, corporate and airport affairs, WestJet.


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