Headline: Drop-in Fuels from Sunlight and Air

Aviation and shipping currently contribute approximately 8% of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions, with growth in tourism and global trade projected to increase this contribution further1–3. Carbon-neutral transportation is feasible with electric motors powered by rechargeable batteries, though challenging if not impossible for long-haul commercial travel, particularly air travel4. A promising solution are drop-in fuels (synthetic alternatives for petroleum-derived liquid hydrocarbon fuels such as kerosene, gasoline or diesel) made from H2O and CO2 by solar-driven processes5–7. Among the many possible approaches, the thermochemical path using concentrated solar radiation as the source of high-temperature process heat offers potentially high production rates and efficiencies8 and can deliver truly carbon-neutral fuels if the required CO2 is obtained directly from atmospheric air9. If H2O is also co-extracted from air10, feedstock sourcing and fuel production can be co-located in desert regions with high solar irradiation and limited access to water resources. While individual steps of such a scheme have been implemented, we now demonstrate operation of the entire thermochemical solar fuel production chain, from H2O and CO2 captured directly from ambient air to the synthesis of drop-in transportation fuels (e.g. methanol, kerosene), with a modular 5-kWthermal pilot-scale solar system operated under real field conditions. We further identify the R&D efforts and discuss the economic viability and policies required to bring these solar fuels to market.

Publikationsjahr
2022
Publikationstyp
Wissenschaftliche Aufsätze
Zitation

Schäppi, R., Rutz, D., Dähler, F., Muroyama, A., Haueter, P., Lilliestam, J., Patt, A., Furler, P., & Steinfeld, A. (2022). Drop-in Fuels from Sunlight and Air. Nature, 601(7891), 63-68. doi:10.1038/s41586-021-04174-y.

DOI
10.1038/s41586-021-04174-y
Beteiligte Mitarbeiter
Beteiligte Projekte
Die Wende zu einem erneuerbaren Stromsystem und ihre Wechselwirkungen mit anderen politischen Zielen (TRIPOD)