Germany commissions DLR to plan pilot plant for industrial-scale production of electricity-based kerosene for aviation
The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) has commissioned the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to plan a pilot plant for the production of electricity-based (electrofuel) renewable kerosene for aviation.
By switching to electricity-based kerosene, we can save millions of tons of CO2 emissions in air traffic. But for this we need several million tons of climate-neutral fuel by 2030. Electricity-based fuels are currently not yet produced in marketable quantities. That is why we commissioned DLR to work with partners from research and industry to design a production system so that we can produce the fuel economically and put it into use more quickly. Because our goal is to fly climate-neutral.—Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer
The DLR Institute for Combustion Technology in Stuttgart is developing the conceptual and technical design together with the Technical University of Hamburg and John Brown Voest GmbH of the Griesemann Group.
We know every component to make synthetic fuels. For profitable production, however, we have to integrate the individual elements into an industrial process chain and bring them to an industrial scale.—Prof. Manfred Aigner, project manager and director of the DLR Institute for Combustion Technology
The project is part of the new BMVI funding concept for renewable fuels.
Electricity-based liquid fuels (electrofuels), also known as power-to-liquid fuels (PtL), are chemically produced from hydrogen and carbon dioxide (e.g. from the air or biomass). They are electricity-based because the hydrogen is obtained with electricity through the electrolysis of water. With electricity from 100% renewable energies, the process is climate neutral. The hydrocarbons obtained are then processed into fuel.
Electricity-based fuels are an important building block for the sustainable and climate-neutral mobility of tomorrow. Due to their high energy density, these liquid fuels are particularly suitable for air and ship traffic, where long ranges are required. Synthetic fuels can also be used directly in the combustion engines of existing fleets in road traffic.
There are various technical components used to produce electricity-based fuels. Some individual technologies are already ready for the market, but their interaction has not yet been tested and optimized. Other components have so far only existed on a laboratory scale and must be scaled to an industrial system size.
A central task of the platform is therefore the testing and integration of these components in an overall system.
The pilot plant is targeting a total of around 10,000 tons of synthetic fuels each year. Such a system does not yet exist—based on this electrofuels technology—anywhere in the world.
The pilot system is intended to serve as a comprehensive development platform for research institutions, medium-sized companies and industry to further develop and advance process technologies.
In addition to the pilot system, an application-oriented research module should also enable the further development of technology components.