• Ron Kotrba

Consortium launches SAF project from direct air capture

Image: Zenid

During a conference on synthetic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the Netherlands this month, SAF stakeholders launched Zenid, a consortium to investigate construction of a demonstration plant to produce SAF from “air,” or more precisely CO2 from direct air capture.

The concept consists of a direct air capture plant that would provide CO2 to a co-electrolysis unit, which turns CO2 and added water into syngas. The syngas is transformed into liquid hydrocarbons by a modular Fischer-Tropsch reactor, and then further refined into SAF.

Members of the consortium launching Zenid include Rotterdam The Hague Airport, part of Royal Schiphol Group; Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport; SkyNRG; and Climeworks.

“[The project] fits exceptionally well within our strategy to facilitate and accelerate sustainability and innovation in aviation, to be at the cradle of sustainable aviation fuel made of CO2 from air,” said Ron Louwerse of Rotterdam The Hague Airport. “We support this project with our knowhow and local networks.”

Maarten van Dijk of SkyNRG said, “Sustainable aviation fuel produced synthetically from CO2 is one of the promising technological pathways necessary to transition towards a sustainable aviation industry. That’s why SkyNRG is proud to support the Zenid project.”

The Zenid consortium has signed a memorandum of understanding with energy company Uniper to provide engineering and operations support for the demo plant.

In 2019, Royal Schiphol Group financed a study to investigate the feasibility of such a demo facility capable of producing SAF from air, water and renewable electricity. German service provider EDL led the European consortium conducting the feasibility study, which also included Climeworks, Sunfire, Ineratec, SkyNRG and Urban Crossovers.

The aviation industry is responsible for 3 percent of global, manmade CO2 emissions. SAF produced from a variety of feedstocks and technologies is considered to be one of the only possible solutions to decarbonize air transport.

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