Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are key to providing air transport with a low-carbon solution available as of now.
These fuels include various production pathways structured between biofuel and synthetic fuels, or e-fuels. Some of these pathways, which are mature and used for commercial flights, must naturally be supported to address the issue of climate change.
However, their deployment is confronted with limited supply of eligible biomass feedstock. The benefits of e-fuels are self-apparent: they extend available resources by enriching the excess carbon in the biofuel production process with green hydrogen produced by means of water electrolysis, or by developing additional sources of biogenic carbon, captured and separated in the air or in certain processes (exhaust fumes from biomass heat and power plants, biofuel distillation column, etc.).
For downstream blocks, the production of e-fuels is based on a long experience in producing synthetic fuels
While their integration on an industrial scale is not simple, the main obstacle is the production of syngas (mixture of CO and H2) required for the Fischer-Tropsch reactor. When the carbon source is in CO2 form, it must be previously converted into CO, directly by reverse water-gas shift reaction, or indirectly by methanolation or co-electrolysis.
All these options, which are still at low levels of maturity, are the main missing link for e-fuels. While solutions are emerging on a small scale, none is yet available off the shelf, thus putting the French industrial value chain at risk. The main purpose of AVEBIO to address this pitfall based on the proven know-how of one of the French experts in thermo-catalytic processes: Khimod.