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13 Jun 2019, 13:40
Sören Amelang

German pilot project produces kerosene from sunlight, water and CO2 for first time

Clean Energy Wire

Marking “groundbreaking progress,” a German pilot project has made kerosene using concentrated sunlight, water and CO2 for the first time, according to the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which is a partner in the SUN-to-LIQUID project and also operates the Institute of Solar Research. “The demonstration of this technology could have large effects on the transport sector, especially for aviation and shipping, that will remain dependent on liquid fuels for long distances,” said project coordinator Andreas Sizmann. Following trials in the laboratory, the technology was tested under real conditions using a solar tower in Spain, according to the DLR. In comparison to fossil fuels, SUN-to-LIQUID cuts CO2 emissions by more than 90 percent. In the longer term, the project intends to use CO2 taken from the atmosphere, the DLR adds. “The future global kerosene demand can therefore be covered with renewable solar fuels that are compatible with the existing fuel infrastructure.”
The SUN-to-LIQUID approach uses concentrated solar energy to synthesise liquid hydrocarbon fuels from H2O and CO2, the DLR explains. This reversal of combustion is accomplished via a high-temperature thermochemical cycle based on metal oxide redox reactions which convert H2O and CO2 into energy-rich synthesis gas (syngas), a mixture of mainly H2 and CO.

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