CARE-O-SENE: Paving the way for green aviation

The South African-German CARE-O-SENE team recently tested a novel catalyst in the world´s largest demonstration plant with a remarkable performance, paving the way for the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuel.

The conversion of renewable energy into liquid energy carriers, known as power-to-liquids (PtL), is a vital technology for the sustainable decarbonization of the aviation sector. PtL technology utilizes green hydrogen and carbon dioxide along with the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process to create sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). However, the efficiency of the FT process depends on the used catalysts. This is where CARE-O-SENE comes in.

Leading academic institutions (Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, KIT, Fraunhofer IKTS, University of Cape Town) and leading industry partners (Sasol, Ineratec) develop and optimize novel catalysts to improve the performance of the FT process for SAF from the current 50 - 70 % to over 80% yield. This means that significantly more sustainable fuel can be produced at a lower cost with the same resources. Highly efficient FT catalysts above 80% SAF yield are crucial for making green kerosene economically viable and pave the way for green aviation.

Recently, an important milestone in CARE-O-SENE towards the commercialization of SAF has been achieved. The team of the German-South African research program co-led by Sasol and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin has successfully produced and tested a new catalyst on a semi-commercial scale. 1.5 tons of the developed catalyst have been tested in the world's largest demonstration plant for more than 60 days at Sasol in South Africa. This new catalyst is highly robust and shows ideal conditions for the FT process, with a predicated yield of more than 80%. This is a significant milestone for the CARE-O-SENE team and an essential step towards achieving the project goals of producing SAFs with high yields on an industrial scale and setting the course for large-scale commercialization of green kerosene production in 2025.