The solar fuel-production plant at IMDEA Energy Institute in Madrid. Scientists are developing a futuristic jet fuel by using water, CO2 and sunlight.

BY SIMONA KITANOVSKA

A carbon-neutral aviation fuel has been developed by scientists. The futuristic fuel uses water, carbon dioxide and sunlight to power jet engines.

Researchers in Switzerland are the first to produce the fuel in a power generator rather than a lab.

The amount of synthetic jet fuel it emits when it combusts in a plane’s engine equals the amount consumed during its production in a solar plant, thus making it carbon neutral.

The fuel will be even greener if the team can capture carbon dioxide from the air in the not-too-distant future and use it in the fuel.

The solar-made kerosene, or jet fuel, is fully compatible with the existing way fuel is stored, distributed, and used in a plane’s engine.

No clean and effective way of flying planes exists today.

“We are the first to demonstrate the entire thermochemical process chain from water and CO2 to kerosene in a fully-integrated solar tower system,” said study corresponding author Professor Aldo Steinfeld, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich.

“With our solar technology, we have shown that we can produce synthetic kerosene from water and CO2 instead of deriving it from fossil fuels.

“The amount of CO2 emitted during kerosene combustion in a jet engine equals that consumed during its production in the solar plant.

“That makes the fuel carbon neutral, especially if we use CO2 captured directly from the air as an ingredient, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.

“This solar tower fuel plant was operated with a setup relevant to industrial implementation, setting a technological milestone towards the production of sustainable aviation fuels.”

The findings were published in the journal Joule in an article titled “A solar tower fuel plant for the thermochemical production of kerosene from H2O and CO2.”

Via NewsWeek.com

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