Sustainable e-fuels for aviation

A few weeks ago, the first industrial 1MW pilot plant for the production of sustainable e-fuels left the INERATEC production site in Karlsruhe. In Werlte, Northern Germany, the world’s largest power-to-liquid plant as of today was installed and ceremonially opened on October 4, 2021.

At the site, synthetic, CO2-neutral fuels will be produced from biogenic CO2 and renewable hydrogen. Most of the CO2 required for this process comes from a nearby biogas plant; a small portion is also taken directly from the air (via direct air capture). The electricity for the plant and for the production of the hydrogen is also produced in a renewable and sustainable manner. Annually, the power-to-liquid plant will thus produce about 350 t of e-fuels by the operator Atmosfair, which will partially be delivered to Lufthansa Cargo in the form of e-kerosene. At the same time, approx. 1000 t of CO2 per year will be put to a secondary use, thus making a further contribution to environmental protection.

The application of power-to-liquid technology on a renewable scale is made possible by INERATEC’s innovative reactor technology and Sasol’s highly efficient Fischer-Tropsch catalyst.
Sasol and INERATEC have been working closely together in this field for several years. Sasol, with its longstanding experience in the field of Fischer-Tropsch catalysis, has developed a tailor-made catalyst for INERATEC’s reactor technology. This new catalyst allows high yields to be achieved. The two partners intend to continue working together in the future to further improve the technology and the catalyst.
The opening provides an important, forward-looking momentum for sustainable aviation and, beyond that, for the use of power-to-liquid technology in Germany. “This brings us one step closer to our vision of making sustainable e-fuels available to everyone. This pilot plant will be followed by others, in Germany and worldwide,” notes Managing Director Philipp Engelkamp.
In addition to this one, another INERATEC plant focusing on e-kerosene is being planned in Frankfurt Höchst, which will produce up to 3,500 metric tons annually. Further and significantly larger plants are to be built with INERATEC technology or, in the case of world-scale plants (> 100,000 mt/yr), also with Sasol Fischer-Tropsch technology at the sweet spots for power-to-X worldwide.

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Katharina Scheele
Product Communications Manager Chemicals Eurasia