“SOLAR-JET”: An EU project makes “solar” kerosene from sunlight
A research project named “SOLAR-JET” funded by the European Union (EU) has produced the world’s first “solar” jet fuel from water and carbon dioxide (CO2). Scientists have for the first time successfully showed the entire production chain for renewable kerosene, using concentrated light as a high-temperature energy source. The project is still in nascent stage, with a glassful of jet fuel produced in laboratory conditions, using simulated sunlight. However, researchers hope that in future any liquid hydrocarbon fuels could be produced from sunlight, CO2 and water.
[icon name=”icon-question-sign”]How did the researchers produce jet fuel from sunlight?
In the SOLAR-JET experiment, researchers used concentrated light – simulated sunlight – to convert carbon dioxide and water to Synthesis Gas (Syngas) in a high-temperature solar reactor containing metal-oxide based materials developed at ETH Zürich. The Syngas (a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide) was then converted into kerosene by Shell using the established “Fischer-Tropsch” process.
[icon name=”icon-question-sign”]What is the significance of SOLAR-JET Experiment?
This experiment aims to develop a technology through which we might one day produce cleaner and plentiful fuel for planes, cars and other forms of transport. This could significantly enhance energy security and turn one of the main greenhouse gases responsible for global warming into a useful resource.