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Twelve produces first batch of "E-Jet" through US Air Force partnership

In the United States (US) carbon "transformation" company Twelve (previously known as Opus 12) has announced that it has produced the first fossil-free jet fuel called "E-Jet" from carbon dioxide (CO2) electrolysis, demonstrating a scalable, energy-efficient path to the de-fossilization of global aviation. This project, supported through funding from the US Air Force, produced fossil-free aviation fuel that is globally applicable for both commercial and military aviation.

Twelve (previously known as Opus 12) has produced the first fossil-free jet fuel called “E-Jet” from carbon dioxide (CO2) electrolysis, demonstrating a scalable, energy-efficient path to the de-fossilization of global aviation. This project, supported through funding from the US Air Force, produced fossil-free aviation fuel that is globally applicable for both commercial and military aviation (photo courtesy Twelve).

Global aviation produces 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year and represents one of the hardest-to-abate sectors, since it is technically unfeasible to electrify long-haul planes at scale due to power density challenges.

Produced using its carbon transformation technology in partnership with Emerging Fuels Technology, Twelve’s jet fuel is a fossil-free fuel that offers a drop-in replacement for petrochemical-based alternatives without any changes to the existing aircraft design or commercial regulations.

Electrifying planes with batteries has proven unfeasible for at-scale decarbonization of aviation, necessitating the production of fossil-free jet fuel. We’ve essentially electrified the fuel instead through our electrochemical process, and the fuel drops right into existing commercial planes, allowing operators to instantly reduce their carbon footprint without any sacrifice to operating quality. Since you can’t electrify the plane, we’ve electrified the fuel, said Nicholas Flanders, Founder, and CEO of Twelve.

Using a new electrochemical reactor and proprietary catalyst that electrifies CO2 and water to produce synthesis gas, this is then refined into a fuel. However, Twelve’s proprietary technology extends beyond fuels, and can also transform CO2 into critical chemicals and materials that are conventionally made from fossil fuels.

Furthermore, according to the company, it can scale to fit any need and offers an energy-efficient alternative to biofuels, which require significant amounts of land and energy to produce. The process is powered by clean low-carbon electricity and is a promising route towards carbon-neutral aviation.

Military and commercial-spec

Twelve worked in partnership with the Air Force’s Operational Energy office through a joint contract with AFWERX, a program office at the Air Force Research Laboratory, and SBIR, the Small Business Innovation Research program.

Creating jet fuel from CO2 enables the US Air Force to increase energy independence and reduce risk in fuel logistics without compromising on fuel quality or reliability.

One of our main goals with this project was to create a clean jet fuel that enhances security and energy independence without sacrificing operational readiness. The successful completion of the project proves that efficiency and environmental responsibility are not mutually exclusive, said Roberto Guerrero, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Operational Energy.

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