How To Make Jet Fuel From Sunlight, Air and Water Vapor

How To Make Jet Fuel From Sunlight, Air and Water Vapor

The energy crisis continues to get worse with every passing year, and efforts to find efficient renewable energy sources have been fruitless, especially in the aviation industry. 5% of the planet’s green house gas emissions are produced by the aviation industry every year. If this number could be decreased, it would be a significant victory in the fight against climate change. Other methods of transport are already far ahead of aviation when it comes to adopting electronic technology as a permanent replacement for fossil fuel.

 

A New Solution

Jet fuel is a scarce resource, difficult and expensive to produce, but that may soon change, thanks to a team of researchers from ETH Zurich. For over a decade now, Aldo Steinfeld and his team of experts have been developing a new method of producing jet fuel. The new method involves heating a reactor using solar energy. The reactor uses water and carbon dioxide that it absorbs from the air, to produce jet fuel.

 

The Results

After years of research and development, Steinfeld and his team were finally able to launch a test of the new technology, at the IMDEA Energy Institute just outside of Madrid, Spain. During the test, the team used hundreds of solar panels to track sunlight, and reflect it onto a reactor that was mounted onto a tower at a 50ft height. The reactor was able to produce 1 liter of kerosene in a span of nine days.

 

The Future

If this new technology ever stands a chance of making a positive change in greenhouse gas emissions, it would need to produce several hundreds of thousands of liters. However, development is still headed in the right direction. Who knows? One day soon, we might be travelling in planes fueled by sunlight and water vapor.