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Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Topsoe to front Danish SAF demo project

Topsoe to front Danish SAF demo project
Decarbonizing the aviation sector poses some challenges, particularly due to high feedstock costs, scalability, and the introduction of new efficient technologies. To achieve a net-zero future in aviation, it is essential that alternative liquid drop-in fuel sources are available at scale (photo courtesy Topsoe).

Denmark-headed carbon emission reduction technologies major Topsoe A/S has announced that it has received funding from the Danish Energy Agency's Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) for FrontFuel, a sustainable aviation fuel demonstration project that Topsoe will lead.

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FrontFuel aims to be the world’s first demonstration facility that showcases the entire value chain related to the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) based on carbon dioxide (CO2) and renewable energy.

Using Topsoe technology, the demonstration project will operate in close collaboration with South Africa-headed Sasol Ltd, a global chemicals and energy company that specializes in Fischer Tropsch (FT) technology essential for SAF production, and Aarhus University, where the production plant facility will be located.

The project has received DKK 26.9 million (≈ EUR 3.6 million) in funding from the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP).

The FrontFuel project is an exciting step forward to commercialize new technologies for the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and will make a meaningful contribution to helping decarbonization of the aviation sector. By working with our expert partners and with the support of EUDP, we are confident we can accelerate the journey toward commercial production of SAF, said Kim Grøn Knudsen, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Topsoe.

Huge boost to SAF commercialization

The FrontFuel project will provide testing of an integrated process applicable for efficient SAF production, enabling faster market penetration and accelerating the green transition.

Using front-end solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) technology with “eREACT”, which is the syngas manufacturing, to feed the Sasol FT technology for syncrude production, FrontFuel will deliver the best-in-class method to SAF production from CO2, water, and renewable electricity.

Power-to-X has its raison d’être in the so-called hard-to-abate sectors, where converting away from fossil fuels is difficult. The aviation sector is a good example, because aviation fuel is the most energy-dense fuel we have, and it’s the hardest to make synthetically, and it’s, therefore, a huge boost for commercialization efforts that we can demonstrate the entire value chain for aviation fuel production, beginning with renewable energy via hydrogen and CO2 to the finished product, saidThomas Lundgaard, Deputy Head of department at Aarhus University’s Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, who is responsible for Aarhus University’s contribution to the FrontFuel project.

Aarhus University’s research centre in Foulum, AU Viborg will host the entire technology package for the production of CO2-neutral aviation fuel.

In the project, we will use all the technologies together at an industrial scale, thereby enabling us to demonstrate that the approach works, while also removing the final obstacles standing in the way of being able to present a solid business case. We expect that this will pave the way for the first commercial facilities, ended Thomas Lundgaard.

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