Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program

 

Hosted by the National Research Council of Canada's (NRC) Energy, Mining and Environment Research Centre, the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program will create a cleaner, more sustainable Canadian energy and chemical industry through materials innovation.

In so doing, the NRC will coordinate a national effort to collaborate with leaders in academia and industry to catalyze the discovery and development of materials for early-stage exploratory technologies to decarbonize Canada's oil and gas and petrochemical sectors.

Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program - Transcript

Minister Bains (On screen)

The National Research Council of Canada is the Government of Canada's largest science and research organization.

Through their Challenge Programs, the NRC is partnering with private and public sector organizations to advance Canadian research that will lead to major scientific breakthroughs, and take on our biggest modern challenges.

Phil De Luna, Program Director (On screen)

We understand that our economy needs fuel to function, and we need clean technology to meet our climate change targets.

Phil De Luna, Program Director (Off screen)

That's why our program on Materials for Clean Fuels will take clean electricity, water, and carbon dioxide and make renewable fuels.

Termed artificial photosynthesis – this technology is inspired by nature but engineered to be faster and more efficient, and shrink our environmental impact.

Phil De Luna, Program Director (On screen)

Drawing on its strengths in clean energy innovations, the NRC is connecting researchers to help us convert or reduce our greenhouse gases.

Our goal is to develop affordable and competitive alternatives for clean and sustainable sources of energy in Canada.

Iain Stewart, NRC President (On screen)

Challenge programs are all about advanced research applied to Canadian priorities, with excellent partners.

Contact us

If you are interested in collaborating with us, making investments in this area, or if you have any questions, please contact:

Phil De Luna
Program Director, Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program
Telephone: 647-355-5421
Email: NRC.EnergyMaterials-MateriauxPourEnergie.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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Areas of focus

  • Carbon dioxide conversion – Using renewable energy to convert carbon dioxide captured from point sources or the atmosphere into valuable fuels and chemical feedstocks.
  • Industrial-scale hydrogen – Reducing the cost to make, use, move, and store carbon dioxide emissions-free hydrogen.
  • AI-accelerated materials discovery – Combining robotics, artificial intelligence, and high-throughput experimentation to accelerate the rate of materials discovery.

Learn more

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Collaborate with us

The Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program invites research performers to express their interest in working with the NRC on this program.

We are seeking collaborators with research capabilities in the focus areas of carbon dioxide, hydrogen and artificial intelligence for materials with low technology readiness levels (TRL 1-4).

Contribution funding is available to support the research costs for eligible collaborators including academic researchers and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Contact us

About the program

Mission

To collaborate with leaders in academia and industry to catalyze the discovery and development of materials for early-stage high-risk technologies to decarbonize Canada's oil and gas and petrochemical sectors.

Long description follows
The Challenge Program will focus on materials to close the carbon loop by developing technologies to convert renewable electricity, carbon dioxide, and water into fuels and chemicals.
 

Objectives

By the end of its 7-year mandate, the Program aims to deliver significant outcomes across 3 master project program areas. It will accomplish the following objectives:

  • discover a new broad range of cost-effective catalysts and membranes for fuels and chemical feedstock production
  • scale up and demonstrate carbon dioxide conversion technology
  • reduce the cost to make, use, move and store hydrogen
  • publish experimental and computational databases and machine learning tools for catalyst material discovery
Long description follows
Long description

The Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge Program's R&D includes:

  • carbon dioxide conversion
  • industrial-scale hydrogen production, storage and transport
  • the use of artificial intelligence and robotics to accelerate the discovery of new materials to be used in clean fuel technologies
 

Foundational Investments

The NRC has established key collaborations with a number of partners to provide foundational investments in technologies that will be essential for the Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge Program's capacity to deliver on its aims. These include:

  • a new national lab in Mississauga dedicated to accelerated materials discovery
  • dedicated computing facilities and operando catalyst equipment
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3D computer-generated image of the new NRC facility being built in Mississauga, Ontario

 

 

Areas of focus

The Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge Program will develop new materials for zero-emission transportation fuels and chemical feedstocks across the continuum from discovery to commercialization. Through collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders, it will advance a unique initiative to bring disruptive solutions to the design, development and delivery of clean fuels and chemicals in Canada.

The Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge Program will focus on the following 3 areas:

  • Carbon Dioxide Conversion: using renewable energy to convert carbon dioxide captured from point sources or the atmosphere into valuable fuels and chemical feedstocks.
  • Industrial-scale hydrogen: reducing the cost to make, use, move, and store carbon dioxide emissions-free hydrogen
  • AI Accelerated Materials Discovery: combining robotics, artificial intelligence, and high-throughput experimentation to accelerate the rate of materials discovery.
 

Collaborate with us

The Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge Program will deploy grants and contributions totalling approximately $21 million CAD over the course of its 7-year mandate. Every project will be collaborative – meaning NRC will contribute its own researchers and expertise in addition to the grants and contributions funding.

Program structure (subject to change):

Phase 1: Exploration – Year 1-2

  • 7-10 initial projects are selected spanning a wide early Technology Readiness Level range (1-5)
  • Anticipated average project cost: $200,000 per year

Phase 2: Development – Year 3-4

  • 5-7 projects will be funded. Some projects from Phase 1 will be renewed
  • Anticipated average project cost: $300,000 per year

Phase 3: Scale and prototype – Year 5-7

  • 3-5 projects will be funded at higher amounts than Phase 1 or 2
  • Anticipated average project cost: $400,000 per year

Subscribe here!

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Current Opportunities

Phase 1 - Exploration
Project Call Now Open

Eligibilty:

  • Academic researcher or small-medium enterprise (SME)
  • Early-stage (technology readiness level 1 to 5) research projects on materials for carbon dioxide conversion and hydrogen production or AI-accelerated discovery
  • Existing funded projects are encouraged
 

News & Events

News

Canada invests in bold new research collaborations and ideas to drive the innovation economy

Events

Here is a list of events at which our experts will be attending, participating, or presenting. We hope to connect with you at one of these events.

Upcoming events

Past events

 

Program team and contacts

The NRC's Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program is made up of a highly skilled and multi-disciplinary team possessing a broad range of expertise in energy materials, business and advisory services, and program management.

For general enquiries please contact us at NRC.EnergyMaterials-MateriauxPourEnergie.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Phil De Luna

Phil De Luna
Program Director, Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program

Nima Shaigan

Nima Shaigan
Hydrogen Technical Lead

Russell Girard

Russell Girard
Challenge Program Officer

Isaac Tamblyn
Artificial Intelligence Technical Lead

Claudie Roy
Carbon Dioxide Technical Lead

Farid Bensebaa

Farid Bensebaa
Techno-economic and Life-cycle Technical Lead