Germany: Lufthansa, Airbus, MTU Aero Engines… together to develop synthetic fuels

Avatar photo

Five major players in German aviation, Lufthansa, Airbus, MTU Aero Engines, Munich Airport and DLR (German Aerospace Research Center), combine their know-how to develop synthetic fuels.

The five partners signed a letter of intent last week in Berlin for a vast research collaboration on so-called “Power-to-Liquid” aviation fuels, the new liquid fuels of plant or synthetic origin.

According to the partners, Power-to-Liquid is considered the next generation of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). SAF constitute a crucial technological key to more sustainable flight and essential for the energy transition in aviation. The planned cooperation will combine the strengths of German aviation companies and academia to accelerate the technology selection, market introduction and industrial scale-up of Power-to-Liquid aviation fuels in Germany.

Issues throughout the production chain, such as maintenance requirements or benefits for local air quality, would be addressed within this technological cooperation. Furthermore, the use of pure Power-to-Liquid, i.e. without the addition of fossil kerosene, could be tested in order to gain knowledge for the approval process.

In addition, the partners intend to examine to what extent synthetic fuels have the potential not only to save large amounts of CO2, but also to positively influence so-called non-CO2 emissions.

To obtain Power-to-Liquid fuel, the first step is to produce oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2) from water via an electrolysis process made possible by energy wind, solar or hydroelectric, explains the Infomazout site. The unusable oxygen is released. In a second step, the manufacturing unit captures carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere or another industrial process, and makes the hydrogen and carbon dioxide interact to produce the basic components for environmentally and climate-friendly Power-to-Liquid gasoline, diesel or kerosene.

John Walker Avatar