Swiss maker of clean aviation fuel gets boost from Lufthansa

Efforts are underway in Switzerland to accelerate the development of sustainable aviation fuel. The aviation industry is a top greenhouse gas emitter. Keystone

The Lufthansa Group has entered a partnership with the Swiss solar fuel developer Synhelion. The Swiss start-up is working to produce a fuel that emits 50% less CO2 by 2022 and plans to market a 100% renewable fuel in 2030.

This content was published on May 20, 2020 - 13:07
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"We really have something here that demonstrates in a solid way that there is an interest in what we are doing," Synhelion CEO Gianluca Ambrosetti told Swiss public television RTS.

Lufthansa group is one of the world’s largest airline groups.

Synhelion is developing a technology that uses solar tower systems with high-temperature thermochemical processes for the production of solar fuels. The solar fuel technology is compatible with the current global fuel infrastructure and could be produced on an industrial scale by 2030.

In parallel, to accelerate its arrival on the market, Synhelion is developing a jet fuel based on solar reforming of methane, with 50% lower carbon emission compared to kerosene.

"The first commercial installation in 2024 will be a 25,000 square meter solar park, which will be able to produce 5,000 tons of fuel per year," reveals Philipp Good, head of research at Synhelion.

Lufthansa units Swiss International Air Lines and Edelweiss Air will work with the federal technology institute ETH Zurich, Sinhelion and another Swiss spin-off, Climeworks, to accelerate development of sustainable aviation fuel, MSN reports.

The Civil Aviation Organization wants to achieve a 2% annual fuel efficiency improvement through 2050 and achieve carbon neutral growth starting from 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic has battered the airline industry with flights grounded for months across the world. The Swiss aviation sector including SWISS and Edelweiss have turned to the government for financial support.

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