Flying Greener: Why synthetic jet fuels are the future of air travel

People, cultures, and economies around the world have been fundamentally connected by flight. However, the aviation industry is one of the largest contributors to global carbon dioxide emissions, which threatens the future of air travel and the world’s climate.

To continue benefiting humankind, the aviation industry recognises that it needs to reduce environmental impacts and work toward net zero carbon emissions by 2050. As a result, the industry is turning to viable methods, such as the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), to create a cleaner environment and become more sustainable.

This shift towards synthetic fuels, or e-fuels as they are commonly known, has the potential to revolutionise the way the aviation industry operates, leading to reduced emissions, improved air quality and a more sustainable future for air travel.

What are e-fuels?

Often referred to as synthetic kerosene, e-kerosene is a SAF derived from carbon dioxide (CO2), water, and renewable electricity. Created through a process of electrolysis, e-kerosene is the world’s first sustainable, zero-carbon alternative to traditional jet fuel. The electrolysis process splits water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, which are then combined with CO2 to create the e-kerosene. 

This process also has the added benefit of capturing the CO2 and preventing it from entering the atmosphere, which will significantly help in achieving net zero emission targets.

What are the benefits?

Designed with environmental advantages in mind, e-fuels offer lower carbon emissions, fewer air pollutants, and improved energy efficiency compared to traditional jet fuel. This makes them very attractive for airlines looking to reduce their environmental impact while still keeping up with air travel demand. 

E-fuels offer a range of sustainable production methods and can even be blended with conventional jet fuel in order to gradually transition away from fossil fuels, without airlines needing to completely replace existing engines or fleets of aircrafts. Not to mention the associated costs such an overhaul would have for them and their customers. It is for this reason that e-fuels such as e-Kerosene can revolutionise the aviation industry.

There are also potential cost savings benefits due to the reduced dependence on petroleum resources and efficient production methods. In fact, the lack of reliance on agricultural land, compatibility with existing aviation equipment and fuel systems, and ability to remove excess carbon from the air, means that e-kerosene has extremely minimal impact on the environment.

Using CO2 to our advantage

Carbon capture technology can convert excess CO2 from our atmosphere into renewable gases and fuels. By partnering CO2 with hydrogen, this greenhouse gas can be transformed into a range of e-fuels including e-kerosene.

The implementation of carbon capture hubs by Southern Green Gas serves as a strong demonstration of how effective this technology can be.

Taking up no more room than a typical car space, SGG’s direct air capture (DAC) modules remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere, allowing it to be stored and then turned into a variety of forms including methane, methanol, and sustainable aviation fuel.

With no electricity grid involved, the DAC modules run exclusively on solar power, making it a cost effective and environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional carbon capture methods. 

The first of its kind in Australia

While there are very few DAC hubs in operation around the world, SGG is the first in Australia pioneering DAC technologies . 

Leveraging the opportunity afforded by our unique natural advantages including abundant sunlight along with vast areas of non-arable land, Australia has the potential to become a world leader in carbon capture and recycling. 

Building on this unique foundation in natural resources, SGG has created a viable solution that can truly accelerate the tackling of climate change, while creating new jobs and income for rural and remote areas. 

By removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere and transforming it into e-kerosene for the aviation industry, Australia can shine on the global stage and set the precedent for global corporations and emissions contributors to really make a difference on the path to net zero.

When it comes to reducing global carbon emissions and providing reliable sources of energy, it is imperative that any impact on the environment is minimised. 

With continued global interest and investment into this field, there is no doubt that e-fuels will play an increasingly important role in helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world in years to come.