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Environment Science

Making Jet Fuel from thin Air: Hope or Hype?

plane on runway at night

Humanosity says…Climate change poses a huge problem for the aviation industry. Without radical innovation, the spotlight on the industry’s carbon footprint will only grow. This article from the BBC looks at a pioneering solution to develop jet fuel from CO2 captured from the air around us…

“This is the future of aviation,” Oskar Meijerink tells me in a café in Rotterdam airport. His company, in partnership with the airport’s owners, is planning the world’s first commercial production of jet fuel made, in part, from carbon dioxide (CO2).

Situated at the airport the plant will capture CO2 from the air whilst at the same time using electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The plant will then combine the CO2 and hydrogen to form syngas which can then be transformed into aviation fuel.

The pilot plant, which aims to produce 1,000 litres of jet fuel a day, will get is energy from solar panels. The process will reduce the carbon footprint of the fuel as the CO2 keeps getting reused.

Climeworks, direct air capture technology

“The main element is the cost,” Oskar Meijerink concedes as the process is still expensive when compared to standard aviation fuel. In fact, environmental campaigners remain sceptical. “It sure does sound amazing. It sounds like a solution to all of our problems – except that it’s not,” said Jorien de Lege from Friends of the Earth.

“If you think about it, this demonstration plant can produce a thousand litres a day based on renewable energy. That’s about five minutes of flying in a Boeing 747. It’d be a mistake to think that we can keep flying the way that we do because we can fly with this fuel. That’s never going to happen. It’s always going to be a niche.”

Click here to read the full article at www.bbc.co.uk

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