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Synthetic component for jet fuel aims to cut flying’s carbon footprint

Written by on 04/10/2021

A new facility which will make a synthetic component for jet engine fuel is being launched in an effort to reduce the impact of flying on the climate.

Officials in Germany claim their project will be the world’s first commercial plant for making synthetic kerosene – and hope to quickly expand its availability once its potential is recognised in the industry.

German airline Lufthansa is poised to be the first customer to use the synthetic kerosene.

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It comes as pressure continues to grow on industries like aviation to do more to tackle carbon emissions and pollution.

The site in Werlte, near Germany’s northwestern border with the Netherlands, will use water and electricity from nearby wind farms to produce hydrogen.

By adding carbon dioxide, the hydrogen will be converted into crude, which can then be refined into jet fuel.

Burning synthetic kerosene will mean only as much CO2 is released into the atmosphere as was previously removed to produce the fuel, making it “carbon neutral”.

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The organisations behind the project say its purpose is to show that the process is technologically feasible and – once it is scaled up and with sufficient demand – economically viable.

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The amount the plant can produce from early next year will be just eight barrels a day – enough to fill up one small passenger plane every three weeks.

The world’s commercial airlines used almost 2.3 billion barrels of kerosene in 2019.

The venture is being led by Atmosfair, a German non-profit group that provides ways for individuals and companies to offset their carbon emissions, while engineering giant Siemens helped to build the plant.

Protestors have gathered outside Farnborough Airport in Hamshire
Image: Protesters outside Farnborough Airport at the weekend

At the weekend, climate protesters claimed the term “sustainable aviation fuel” – used by the industry – was “coined by the aviation and fossil fuel industry to deceive the public and greenwash the utterly destructive nature of biofuels”.

The activists staged a demonstration at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire in a protest against emissions from private jets.

 Sky News

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