eSAF plant to start production next year in Denmark
A new project to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from renewable sources has been launched in Aalborg, Denmark. The project has participation from Aalborg Airport, Kosan Gas, Vertimass and European Energy. The partners expect the pilot plant to be operating by next year. The eSAF will be produced from CO2 and green hydrogen and pave the way to supply the first domestic-flight route in Denmark running on SAF. The project, dubbed “MeSAF” because the SAF is made from methanol, is part of the ambition from the partners to contribute towards a green transition in the aviation sector and prepare for the initiatives under ReFuel EU. The process has been simplified using new technology developed by the American company Vertimass. Whereas processes today require several steps from converting methanol into aviation fuel, the new technology only involves one step. In cooperation with the Danish company European Energy, a major producer of renewable energy from solar and wind and the company behind the first production of e-methanol in Denmark, the production of kerosene with the new technology will initially be tested in the U.S. Afterwards, a demonstration plant will be established in Aalborg, Denmark, by 2024. The experience from this plant will form the basis for the evaluation of a subsequent plant with production of at least 10,000 metric tons per year. “Making air traffic sustainable is of high priority, and eSAF makes up a potential solution, but existing technologies require very large scale and are not ideally suited for the intermittent hydrogen production from wind and solar energy,” said Søren Knudsen Kær, head of technology for European Energy. “With this new technology from Vertimass, we expect to be able to make use of our existing experience in e-methanol and deliver a sustainable product that is cost competitive, and where the ingredients in the form of wind, solar and CO2 in principle are unlimited.” Niels Kjær Hemmingsen, director at Aalborg Airport, added, “With both DAT, SAS and Norwegian there are approximately 18 daily departures between Aalborg and Copenhagen. This makes Aalborg-Copenhagen the busiest domestic route in Denmark. It therefore makes sense that the first Danish sustainable domestic route will be from Aalborg Airport. We are looking forward to the collaboration and not least the development of more sustainable aviation.” Renewable liquid gas (RLG) will be a byproduct from the eSAF production. Kosan Gas intends to sell this as a sustainable alternative to the fossil gases (LPG) distributed today. “The cooperation on the production of eSAF is the result of a strategic focus on sustainable transition in our organization, where the partnership with our technical partner, Vertimass, has been the key to combine the appropriate technologies, which the project in Aalborg requires,” said Jannik Brokær Lund, the commercial manager of Kosan Gas Nordic. “Being able to produce this renewable liquid gas means that we, among other things, will be able to help companies that wish to increase their security of supply with a sustainable and climate-friendly energy solution. As the production of sustainable aviation fuel increases, we expect to be able to supply correspondingly larger amounts of renewable liquefied gas to our customers.”
The total budget for the MeSAF project is USD$2.6 million, of which the Danish technology development program EUDP has funded USD$1.37 million.
The partners in the project are:
European Energy A/S, which develops, finances, establishes and operates solar and wind farms as well as large-scale Power-to-X plants. European Energy is based in Denmark with activities in Europe, Brazil, the U.S. and Australia. The company has integrated REIntegrate, which is behind the construction of Denmark’s first e-methanol plant.
Kosan Gas is the market leading distributor of LPG gas for the Danish and Nordic markets. The company is owned by UGI Corp.
Vertimass specializes in the development of technology for the production of sustainable fuels for the transport sector. The U.S.-owned company has developed a catalyst for the processing of ethanol and methanol into aviation fuel.
Aalborg University’s Department of Energy Technology conducts research into the development of technologies and solutions for the energy supply and consumption of the future, focusing on the use of renewable sources and the establishment of synergy between sectors.
Aalborg Airport is Denmark’s third-largest airport and constitutes a busy traffic hub for both transport of passengers and cargo. The airport handles a significant part of the flight-based domestic traffic, which, according to political aspiration, must be introduced to a green route no later than 2025.
Port of Aalborg is as one of Denmark’s largest commercial ports, engaged in the development of supply facilities based on green fuels for the transport sector. Within a short period of time, the port will be home to Denmark’s first e-methanol plant, which will be moved from Aalborg University to the port.
Hydrogen Valley is responsible for dissemination of progress and results of the project, given its comprehensive technical and commercial knowledge within Power-to-X and carbon capture utilization and storage.