The aviation industry is responsible for 3% of global manmade CO2 emissions and has the challenging objective to reduce these emissions in the next decade significantly. Unlike road transport, aviation cannot switch to electric or hydrogen propulsion yet and therefore depends on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). SAF purely made from air via direct air capture technology and renewable electricity offers a carbon-neutral solution suitable to meet the industry's high demands for renewable fuels in the future.
Today's High-Level Conference on Synthetic SAF hosted by the Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen sets a new milestone in the development of Zenid. A consortium consisting of the Rotterdam The Hague Airport (part of Royal Schiphol Group), Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport, global leader for SAF SkyNRG and Swiss direct air capture pioneers Climeworks agreed to further investigate the construction of a demonstration plant producing fully circular SAF with 100% CO2 derived from the air. Based on the positive outcome of a feasibility study for such a plant conducted earlier. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Materials for Electric Vehicles: Electric Motors, Battery Cells & Packs, HV Cabling 2020-2030.
The demonstration plant will be powered by regionally sourced renewable energy and combines several innovative technologies: a direct air capture plant provides CO2 to a highly efficient co-electrolysis unit, that turns the CO2 and added water into syngas. The syngas is transformed into liquid hydrocarbons by a modular Fischer-Tropsch reactor and then refined into sustainable aviation fuel.
The Zenid consortium signed an MoU with global energy company Uniper to support the engineering and operation of the demonstration plant. For the future availability of fully circular SAF from air, it is crucial to kick-start the scale- up today. The goal of Zenid is to enable a net zero aviation industry in the long-term.
History of the project
In 2019, Royal Schiphol Group financed a study to investigate the feasibility of a demonstration plant able to produce SAF from air, water and renewable electricity. The European consortium conducting the study was led by the German service provider EDL and further consisted of Climeworks, Sunfire, Ineratec, SkyNRG and Urban Crossovers. Zenid is now taking a next step with the support of these technology partners.
Christoph Gebald, Climeworks said 'The launch of Zenid shows the commitment of the industry towards fully circular fuels from air and their role to substantially reduce aviation's CO2 emissions.'
Maarten van Dijk, SkyNRG said 'Sustainable aviation fuel produced synthetically from CO2 is one of the promising technological pathway necessary to transition towards a sustainable aviation industry, that's why SkyNRG is proud to support the Zenid project.'
Ron Louwerse, Rotterdam the Hague Airport said 'Rotterdam the Hague Airport is very proud to be one of the Kick-Starters of this groundbreaking project, together with Schiphol Group and Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport (RHIA). It fits exceptionally well within our strategy to facilitate and accelerate sustainability and innovation in aviation, to be at the cradle of sustainable aviation fuel made of CO2 from air. We support this project with our know how and local networks.'
Climeworks empowers people to reverse climate change by permanently removing carbon dioxide from the air. One of two things happens to the Climeworks air-captured carbon dioxide: either it is returned to earth, stored safely and permanently away for millions of years, or it is upcycled into climate-friendly products such as carbon-neutral fuels and materials, fertilizer for greenhouses or bubbles in your fizzy drinks. The Climeworks direct air capture technology runs exclusively on clean energy, and the modular CO2 collectors can be stacked to build machines of any size. Founded by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks strives to inspire 1 billion people to act now and remove carbon dioxide from the air.
Having supplied over 30 airlines on all continents, it is our mission to make SAF the new global standard. SkyNRG sources, blends, and distributes SAF, guarantees sustainability throughout the supply chain, and develops programs -e.g., the Board Now program, to co-fund any price gap over conventional jet fuel. At the same time, SkyNRG focuses on developing regional SAF supply chains -e.g., our own dedicated SAF production plant, DSL-01, that offer a real sustainable and affordable alternative to fossil fuels.To ensure we make the right decisions regarding the sustainability of our operations, projects and products, SkyNRG is structurally advised by an independent Sustainability Board, which includes representatives from WWF International, the European Climate Foundation, Solidaridad Network and the University of Groningen. Also, SkyNRG's operations are certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), the highest possible certification standard for sustainable fuels.
Uniper is a leading international energy company with around 11,500 employees and activities in more than 40 countries. With about 34 GW of installed generation capacity, Uniper is among the largest global power generators. Its main activities include power generation in Europe and Russia as well as global energy trading, including a diversified gas portfolio that makes Uniper one of Europe's leading gas companies. In 2019, Uniper had a gas turnover of 220 bcm. The company is headquartered in Düsseldorf, being the third-largest listed German utility. Under its new strategy, Uniper aims to become carbon-neutral in Europe by 2035.
About Rotterdam The Hague Airport
Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA), part of Royal Schiphol Group, is a European regional airport for commercial and charter flights, business aviation and local medical rescue flights. In 2019 RTHA processed two million passengers with its 50 European destinations.
About Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport (RHIA)
As a community, RHIA focuses on the realization of an 'Aviation District', a socio-economic cluster integrated with its environment and a magnet for innovation and entrepreneurship. This Aviation District is an innovation ground for future aviation, enabling and accelerating the transition of the aviation sector. Together, we work on sustainable airplanes and airports, smart mobility, green energy, new business and next generation education.