Lufthansa has signed a Letter of Intent with organisations including Airbus and Munich airport for “a broad-based research collaboration on Power-to-Liquid (PtL) aviation fuels”.
The agreement – which also involves MTU Aero Engines and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) – is intended to accelerate the technology selection, market introduction and industrial scaling of PtL aviation fuels in Germany.
PtL is considered by some to be the next generation of Sustainable Aviation Fuels, using regeneratively generated electricity, water and CO2 from the atmosphere to create a syngas from which sustainable aviation fuel can be produced.
Lufthansa said that the collaboration would also include the testing of pure PtL (ie: without the addition of fossil kerosene) in order to gain knowledge for the approval process.
The partners intend to examine the extent to which PtL fuels have the potential “not only to save large quantities of CO2, but also to positively influence the so-called non-CO2 emissions”.
Lufthansa said that the PtL process “process appears particularly promising from an environmental and scaling perspective” – currently Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) are produced using resources such as cooking oil, animal fat wastes or algae to create a fuel which can reduce lifecycle emissions by up to 80 per cent.
Airlines are ramping up their SAF purchases, but the World Travel and Tourism Council recently called on governments worldwide to “get serious” on incentivizing SAF, warning that there is currently a “massive gap” between demand and production.
Jens Ritter, CEO of Lufthansa Airlines said that “Research collaborations like this are essential for developing pioneering solutions for the climate-friendly transformation of air traffic”, while Nicole Dreyer-Langlet, member of the Airbus management board in Germany responsible for research and technology, commented:
“Sustainable Aviation Fuels play a key role in decarbonization for Airbus. Already today, our aircraft can use SAF up to a quota of 50 percent, and approval for up to 100 percent is currently underway.
“We are delighted about this further deepening of our cooperation. The topic of PtL requires a team effort from aircraft manufacturers, airports, research partners such as DLR and airlines.”
To read our recent features on SAF developments, see: