The Aviation Climate Taskforce (ACT) has awarded its first research grant worth $400,000 to decarbonization technology incubator Susteon for the development of an innovative Direct Air Capture (DAC)-to-Jet approach to producing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
The research project is aimed at transforming conventional DAC technology into reactive DAC for the aviation industry by combining carbon dioxide (CO2) capture with CO2 conversion.
Susteon will use the grant to develop a Dual Functional Material (DFM), which includes a sorbent and catalyst for capturing and then converting CO2 into methanol and ethanol, and these can serve as feedstock to produce SAF.
This approach could help reduce SAF production costs by diversifying the available raw materials, which would facilitate the global scale-up of this technology, ACT said in a statement.
SAF is expected to play an important role in the efforts to decarbonize the aviation sector. Currently, it can cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 80% over the fuel lifecycle, and this percentage is expected to be even higher in the future.
Furthermore, the blend of SAF with traditional fuel can be used directly to replace fossil-based aviation fuel with just limited changes to engines or infrastructure.
“Merging the capture of CO2 with the conversion of CO2 creates opportunities for the improved efficiency and cost reductions that are greatly needed to create a scalable, reliable, and resilient supply chain for SAF,” Tom Light, ACT’s CEO, said in a comment.
ACT is a nonprofit that unites a global group of industry leaders committed to decarbonizing the aviation sector.
“Southwest is excited about the potential of Susteon’s technology to directly capture and convert CO2 into SAF intermediates, which could play a key role in the industry’s path to net zero emissions by 2050,” added Helen Giles, Director of Environmental Sustainability at Southwest Airlines, one of 10 industry leaders which back ACT’s work.
In addition to Southwest Airlines, ACT brings together the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) along with Air Canada, Air France-KLM Group, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa Group, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.