International group to develop sustainable aviation fuel

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

German research centre Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and energy company Sasol are leading a global group that will research sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

At a ceremony at Sasol’s global headquarters in Johannesburg, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and German chancellor Olaf Scholz attended the launch of CARE-O-SENE (Catalyst Research for Sustainable Kerosene) research project, to be funded by the German federal ministry of education and research (BMBF) and Sasol.

Sasol joins forces with five other world-leading organizations in Germany and South Africa to accelerate the development of catalysts that are essential to produce green kerosene on a commercial scale through Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology.

“We are delighted to have been selected to lead this important project,” said Fleetwood Grobler, president and CEO of Sasol Limited. “Our expertise in FT technology and catalysts makes us the ideal partner to help Germany and the world decarbonize the aviation sector and make it sustainable over the long-term.”

“CARE-O-SENE will enable us to accelerate innovation in a crucial field of green energy,” said Bernd Rech, scientific managing director of HZB.

“This can only be achieved in a global partnership by deeply integrating fundamental research and technology development on an industry relevant scale.”

Three-year program

CARE-O-SENE will run for three years and pursues the goal of setting the course for large-scale commercialization of green kerosene production by 2025 with its research on catalysts. Catalysts are used to speed up chemical reactions, increase the yield and improve the quality of refined products. The new FT catalysts are expected to increase the fuel yield of the process to over 80 percent.

Unlike conventional kerosene derived from fossil feedstocks, SAF can be made from green hydrogen and sustainable carbon dioxide sources. Developing SAF is key to a sustainable decarbonization of the hard-to-abate aviation industry, and the main lever for net zero aviation. The underlying technology to developing SAF at scale from green hydrogen and sustainable carbon sources is FT technology, in which Sasol has been a global leader for more than 70 years.

Other CARE-O-SENE project partners include the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the University of Cape Town, Department of Chemical Engineering (UCT) and INERATEC GmbH.