Sky’s the Limit Challenge Funding for Green Aviation Technology

Canada is actively transitioning to a low-carbon economy, and accelerating the accessibility and affordability of sustainable aviation fuel is an important factor in this mission. While other methods of transportation are moving to alternate energy sources sources (e.g. electric vehicles), aircrafts still require liquid fuels. The aviation industry has a goal of carbon neutral growth by 2020 and of total CO2 emissions reduction to half of 2005 levels by 2050. Current technologies in the industry are not sufficient to achieve these numbers. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions requires the use of sustainable aviation fuel, which comes at a greater cost than conventional fuel.

To address the goal of a widespread adoption of sustainable aviation fuel, the Impact Canada Challenge Platform has created the Sky’s the Limit Challenge. The Sky’s the Limit Challenge seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and promote the development of sustainable aviation fuel supply chains in Canada. It consists of two prize-based competitions; the Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition and the Cross-Canada Flight Competition.

Participants of the Challenge may receive $1,000,000 to a maximum $5,000,000 in clean technology grants for their aviation fuel solution that will cut pollution and fight climate change.

To apply for either of the two streams, participants must submit an application through the online portal. The call for proposals deadline for the Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition is February 1, 2019, and for the Cross-Canada Flight Competition is March 1, 2019.

About the Sky’s the Limit Challenge: Green Aviation Technology

The Sky’s the Limit Challenge is seeking growth of green aviation technology in Canada. Its four main objectives are to:

  1. Build on Canada’s strengths to develop a world-class supply chain to produce sustainable aviation fuel;
  2. Reduce air transportation greenhouse (GHG) emissions and accelerate innovation to decrease the cost of sustainable aviation fuel;
  3. Promote Canadian-made sustainable aviation fuel in domestic commercial flights in Canada; and
  4. Support Canadian leadership in cleantech innovation and the rising global market for environmentally friendly fuels.

The Sky’s the Limit Challenge has a grand prize of $5,000,000 to the proposed innovative clean technology for the aviation industry in Canada.

In regard to the Challenge, “sustainable aviation fuel” is a fuel made of any type of feedstock, excluding natural gas, coal, and crude oil. A sustainable aviation fuel resulting from the co-processing of a renewable feedstock with crude oil is also acceptable.

Two Streams of Canadian Government Funding

There are two competitions available through the Sky’s the Limit Challenge. These are the Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition and the Cross-Canada Flight Competition.

1. Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition

The Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition seeks to develop a minimum of 10 litres of made-in-Canada sustainable aviation fuel offering the best GHG reduction at the lowest production cost with the highest probability for commercial scale-up.

Eligible participants include:

  • Canadian post-secondary institutions;
  • Indigenous organizations and groups; and
  • For-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

This stream will support four finalists with up to $2,000,000 each over 18 months to develop the best way to scale-up sustainable aviation fuel in Canada. There will be a final $5,000,000 prize awarded to the finalist whose approach supports the most environmentally sustainable, economical, and sustainable aviation fuel production in Canada.

Key deadlines for the Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition are:

  • Call for proposals deadline: February 1, 2019
  • Four finalists announced: May 31, 2019
  • Final prize submission deadline: November 1, 2020
  • Final prize winner announced: March 31, 2021

2. Cross-Canada Flight Competition

The Cross-Canada Flight Competition seeks to complete the first cross-Canada flight (approximately 3,000 km) using 10% or more sustainable aviation fuel made in Canada. The airlines taking on the flight will be Air Canada and WestJet.

Eligible participants include:

  • A biojet producer validly incorporated or registered in Canada

The first producer to meet all the criteria for their made-in-Canada biojet fuel will win $1,000,000 in Canadian government funding.  

The sustainable aviation fuel must:

  • Be produced in Canada;
  • Be made from Canadian sustainable feedstocks;
  • Meet all necessary aviation turbine fuel standards (CGSB and ASTM); and
  • Have greenhouse gas emissions that are a minimum of 10% lower than that of conventional aviation fuel (CAF) on a life-cycle basis (i.e. less than 80.1gCO2e/MJ).

Key deadlines for the Cross-Canada Flight Competition are:

  • Competition begins: March 1, 2019
  • Competition closes: January 1, 2021
  • Prize winner announced: March 31, 2021

How to Apply for the Sky’s the Limit Challenge

Applications will only be accepted through the Impact Canada website via the designated application portal, where applicants must submit information such as general company material, description of the project, type of technology intended for use, and type of feedstock intended for use. All detailed requirements are outlined on the program page.

For the Green Aviation Fuels Innovation Competition, the selection of applicants will only begin once the application deadline has closed. The Cross-Canada Flight Competition prize can be awarded at any time once the prize criteria are met.

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Myra Bredin holds a Diploma of Business Marketing at Conestoga College. Her interest in blog writing, social media and event planning makes her excited to be Mentor Works’ Marketing Analyst, where she can use these skills to educate and support Canadian businesses with government funding.

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