The representatives of the Lufthansa Group and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) with its spin-offs Clime-works and Synhelion have signed a joint Letter of Intent for a possible cooperation.
According to Lufthansa, the letter of intent will help to accelerate the market launch of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). The researchers and engineers at ETH Zurich have developed innovative processes that make it possible to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and, together with water and with the help of concentrated sunlight, convert it into a synthesis gas that can be used to produce jet fuel.
Such a fuel releases only as much CO2 as was previously extracted from the atmosphere. It is the common goal of the signatories to prepare these promising technologies for later production on an industrial scale.
Lufthansa Group says the partnership initiated by its subsidiaries SWISS and Edelweiss is to include, among other things, cooperation in the areas of technology and economic efficiency. It also intends to agree on acceptance quotas of SAF at a later date in order to support future demonstration projects of the partners. Further contents of the cooperation are to be worked out by the end of 2020.
Prof. Dr. Aldo Steinfeld, Professor for Renewable Energy Carriers at ETH Zurich, says: “In contrast to other modes of transport, air transport will depend on sustainable liquid fuels in the foreseeable future. Their market launch requires a joint effort by fuel manufacturers and airlines. This Letter of Intent marks the intention of such a cooperation between ETH Zurich, the ETH spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion and the Lufthansa Group Airlines to jointly address the challenges involved. This is intended to support the energy turnaround in aviation.”
Christina Foerster, Executive Board Member of Deutsche Lufthansa AG responsible for Customer & Corporate Responsibility, says: “With the planned cooperation, we are once again underlining the importance of Sustainable Aviation Fuels for the goal of achieving aviation with a balanced CO2 sheet. The Lufthansa Group has been working hard for years to make flying ever more sustainable. Thanks to the forward-looking technologies and the cooperation with innovative partners in already two of our home markets, we are on the right track.”
Over the past decade, the Lufthansa Group has been intensively engaged in researching, testing and using sustainable alternative aviation fuels and has pioneered the world’s first long-term testing of biofuel in regular flight operations in 2011. Later, the company became involved in basic research into the mixing behavior of alternative and conventional kerosene and selectively used fuels from novel synthesis processes.