All-in-One Tower Creates Jet Fuel With Solar Energy, Water & CO2

You may be aware of the harmful impact of CO2 emissions via jet fuel. That’s why there is an immediate need for renewable and eco-friendly aviation fuel to reduce emission release into the environment. To resolve the issue, international researchers at ETH Zurich have found a solution in the form of jet fuel using water, solar energy, and carbon dioxide (CO2).

The team has successfully managed to create an all-in-one tower that produces a sustainable alternative to fossil-linked fuels like diesel and kerosene. Apparently, this sustainable fuel is carbon-neutral and completely compatible with the current aviation infrastructure for storage, delivery, and usage in aviation engines. While the system can currently convert only 4 percent of sunlight into gasoline, the team is working on improving its efficiency by up to 15 percent.

All-in-One Tower Creates Jet Fuel With Solar Energy, Water & CO2


The aviation sector contributes to 5 percent of the worldwide carbon emissions, which are leading to climate change. It is because the aviation sector heavily depends on kerosene that’s also called jet fuel. It is a liquid hydrocarbon fuel that majorly includes crude oil. On a global scale, there is no green fuel option currently for long-haul commercial airplanes.

But now with the creation of this innovative tower, the ETH Zurich research team aims to bring a positive change in the aviation sector. And, hopefully, they manage to take the right steps to become carbon neutral.

There is an innovative system in this solar tower that’s set in Spain. The whole process of thermochemical movement from water and CO2 to gasoline is done in the integrated solar tower system. Thanks to solar technology, it is now possible to create synthetic kerosene using CO2 and water rather than collecting it from fossil fuels. Since this sustainable jet fuel is carbon neutral, there won’t be any harm to the environment.

All-in-One Tower Creates Jet Fuel With Solar Energy, Water & CO2

Image: IEEE Spectrum

The team started the scalability testing in 2017 and then began working on a solar fuel production facility. This facility is set up at the IMDEA Energy Institute in Spain. This fuel plant includes169 sun-tracking reflective panels, which concentrate and redirect solar radiation into a solar reactor above the tower. This solar reactor has a porous structure that’s made of ceric oxide or ceria.

Further, it is powered by concentrated solar rays to drive oxidation-reduction (redox) reaction cycles. Consequently, ceria can turn water and CO2 into syngas, which is a combination of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Thereafter, the syngas goes into the gas-to-liquid converter to transform into liquid hydrocarbon fuels, such as diesel and kerosene.

We hope that this sustainable aviation fuel passes all the tests and we soon get a green alternative to fossil-derived jet fuels.

Via: Popular Mechanics

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