Solar tower for aircraft fuel production

Depending on how it is calculated, the climate impact of air travel ranges from less than 1% to around 5%. But what is certain is that it is basically a result combustion The kerosene that power our aircraft’s reactors. Because kerosene is produced by refining The oila irritable fossil. It emanates from combustion Carbon Dioxide (Ko2), the main greenhouse gases Responsible for Global Warming mankind. At the moment, unfortunately, there is no clean alternative that would make it possible to think about maintaining long-distance air traffic on a global scale.


At the present time .. because scientists are far from admitting defeat in the field! One of the most promising avenues is the production of so-called solar fuels. The idea is to produce synthetic fuel fromenergy Solar. It is possible by the photochemical method, by activating reactions thanks to Photons which carries solar energy, or photobiological, understands Photosynthesis Artificial, for example. But also in a thermochemical way.

This is the path that Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH, Switzerland) Chose Explore. They are now offering a fuel production system that they hope will help the aviation sector become carbon neutral. A solar tower that produces jet fuel from water and ko2.

This tower consists of 169 track-tracking boards Sun By reflecting and focusing the radiation towards a reactor located above. This energy then makes it possible to trigger cycles of reactionsoxidation and reduction On a porous oxide structure Cerium (Executive Director2) – a compound that is not consumed in the process – to convert water and carbon dioxide2 It is injected into the reactor as a synthesis gas which is then converted into kerosene.

Efficiency can be improved

So far, these attempts have remained in the laboratory stage. This time, the researchers succeeded in proving the feasibility of the entire series on demonstrator Industrial. from CO2water and light From the sun they can produce kerosene.

Kerosene? but after that Airplanes will continue to emit the same amount of carbon dioxide2 than before. yes. But the solar tower developed by ETH researchers consumes the same amount of carbon dioxide2 Aircraft then emit. What finally makes fuels carbon neutral. A little more even when it can be produced from carbon dioxide2 Captured live inair.

Another advantage is that solar kerosene is fully compatible with existing infrastructures. Infrastructures for storage, distribution and use. If necessary, it can be mixed with original kerosene fossil.

Only downside, finally,Energy Efficiency From the solar tower. Today it is only about 4%. But the researchers already have ways to improve their design. They hope to increase it to 15%.

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