Scientists on 29 April 2014 for the first time developed Solar Jet Fuel using Sunlight, water and carbon dioxide (Co2). The project called SOLAR-JET was funded by European Union (EU).
Solar-Jet project partners include the German Aerospace Center (DLR), ETH Zürich, Bauhaus Luftfahrt and Shell.
Researchers have for the first time successfully demonstrated the entire production chain for renewable kerosene, using concentrated light as a high-temperature energy source.
In a first step concentrated simulating sunlight was used to convert carbon dioxide and water to synthesis gas (syngas) 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 converted into kerosene by Shell using the established Fischer-Tropsch process.
Fischer-Tropsch derived fuels are already certified and can be used by existing vehicles and aircraft without modifications of their engines or of fuel infrastructure.
About Solar Jet
The four-year SOLAR-JET project was launched in June 2011. The project received 2.2 million Euros from the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7).
The project is still at the experimental stage, with a glassful of jet fuel produced in laboratory conditions, using simulated sunlight. However, the results give 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. The programme was launched in the start of 2014.
What: developed Solar Jet Fuel
When: 29 April 2014