Swiss solar fuel developer Synhelion has successfully demonstrated industrial-scale production of syngas that uses only solar heat as an energy source, thus becoming the first company in the world to do so, it said on Thursday.
The next step is industrial production of carbon-neutral jet fuels. Syngas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide used to synthesise liquid fuels such as kerosene, gasoline and diesel that can fuel conventional jet engines and internal combustion engines.
Having produced solar syngas for the first time in 2010, Synhelion has now scaled up the technology to an industrial scale in partnership with engineering firm Wood, which has provided the reforming reactor in which the syngas is produced. The demonstration is taking place at the multifocus solar tower and mirror field of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Juelich, where a 250-kW solar receiver developed by Synhelion is coupled with the reforming reactor. The system has a capacity of 100 cubic metres of syngas per hour, which could result in the production of about 150,000 liters of liquid solar fuel per year.
Synhelion is currently constructing a solar fuel plant in Juelich, which will demonstrate the whole process from concentrated sunlight to liquid fuels on an industrial scale. It could be up and running as early as 2023. Swiss International Air Lines will be the first offtaker of its solar kerosene.
The plant is part of the SolarFuels project that is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).
Choose your newsletter by Renewables Now. Join for free!