Monday, 12 September 2016

Solar Jet Fuel

On April 29, 2014 European scientists at SOLAR-JET project have successful created world’s first renewable jet fuel scratch using only water, carbon dioxide and concentrated sunlight. The breakthrough invention could even help recycle harmful greenhouse, CO2 and use it into petrol, diesel, and jet fuel kerosene. They believe that a full scale solar concentrate would be able to produce up to 20,000 litres of jet fuels per day. Solar –jet project partners include the German Aerospace Center (DLR),ETH  Zurich, and Shell.

Figure.1
The Solar-Jet reactor can turn carbon dioxide, water and concentrated sunlight into jet fuel
The process
 In the first step, concentrated simulating sunlight was used to convert carbon dioxide and water to synthesis gas in a high temperature solar reactor containing metal oxide based materials. The syngas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The syngas   was then conveted into kerosene by M/s Shell, a global petroleum company using the established Fischer-Tropsch process. Fischer-Tropsch derived fuels are already certified and can be used in existing vehicles and aircraft without modification of their engines or of fuel infrastructure.


The four – year solar- jet project was launched in June 2011. The project received 2.2 million Euros from the Seven Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. The project is still at the experimental stage, with a glassful of jet fuel produced in laboratory condition, using simulated sunlight. However, the result gives hope that in future any liquid hydrocarbon fuels could be produced from sunlight, CO2 and water. Finding new sustainable sources of energy is a priority under Horizon 2020- the seven–year EU research and innovation programme.
Advantages  of Solar –jet
1.      Production of free natural kerosene from natural source  of energy like water, solar energy, CO2 captured from air etc.
2.      Demonstration of pioneering processes for risk aversion in high impact strategic long-term investments for the aviation energy future. 

3.      Demonstration of the key technological components for solar aviation “drop-in” fuel production that enables the use of existing fuel infrastructure, fuel system, and aircraft engine, while eliminates the logistical requirements of bio-fuels, hydrogen, or other alternative fuels.

Mr. Ashutosh Singh (ME)

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