NAIT partners with industry to offer low-carbon fuel to long-haul segment

by Truck West

EDMONTON, Alta. – The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) has partnered with industry stakeholders to bring low-carbon fuel that can withstand all weather conditions to the long-haul truck segment.

Working with Mack Trucks, Westcan Bulk Transport, and Oberon Fuels, the effort is supported by the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade with funding of $368,000.

“As a leading polytechnic, NAIT supports applied research and technology-based education in areas critical to Alberta – a primary focus being the energy sector,” said Dr. Glenn Feltham, NAIT president and CEO. “Alberta, and the world, are moving toward a low-carbon future. Support from the Government of Alberta allows NAIT to work in partnership with industry to create this future.”

NAIT researchers from the School of Applied Sciences and Technology will work to develop fuel moisture management technology for dimethyl ether (DME), which is a cleaner-burning diesel fuel alternative made from natural gas or methanol produced from biomass feedstock.

The technology aims to remove any residual water from the DME before injection into the engine, eliminated the risk of corrosion and reduced performance.

“NAIT’s researchers are making our province proud – attracting international attention and investment,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade. “That’s why we’re helping them create new products based on Alberta discoveries that mean a healthier environment for people across the continent – and new jobs and a more diversified economy here at home.”

NAIT plans to test the technology using Mack trucks from Westcan’s fleet on the Hwy 2 corridor between Calgary and Edmonton.

Rebecca Boudreaux, president of Oberon Fuels, said her company’s effort to develop a new global transportation fuel has been accelerated by the support of NAIT and forward-looking companies like Mack and Westcan.

“Alberta is leading the way by investing in DME, one of the few truly carbon-negative fuels available,” she said, “and the only one that can deliver the power needed for heavy-duty applications.”

NAIT president/CEO Dr. Glenn Feltham, left, and Dr. Paolo Mussone, NAIT’s applied bio/nanotechnology research chair.

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