The strong growth of the aviation industry requires solutions to mitigate the effects aviation has on the climate. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) can play an important part in reducing CO2 emissions and the environmental impact of the aviation industry.
The consortium of the Methanol-to-SAF project “M2SAF” sees five companies from the entire value chain joining forces with the aim of developing a novel process technology to facilitate the selective production of SAF that can be used as a drop-in fuel up to 100%. This production process should generate only minimal additional CO2 emissions and be easy to integrate into existing production plants. The starting point of the process is sustainably produced methanol from CO2 and green hydrogen.
The official certificate of funding for the M2SAF project was presented to the representatives of the M2SAF consortium by State Secretary Oliver Luksic from the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport on November 16, 2022, in Frankfurt. As part of the overall concept of renewable fuels, the M2SAF development project is being funded to the tune of EUR3.1 million by the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV). The 2.5-year development project had a successful start in August 2022 with the first activities. A development platform for PtL fuels, which will demonstrate production on a semi-industrial scale and support the market ramp-up of PtL fuels, is being coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by the project lead VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.
“We are pleased to see the bundled know-how and the initiative of the renowned industrial companies in the M2SAF consortium, companies who want to jointly drive innovation and technologies in order to effectively support the decarbonisation of air transport and thereby the climate goals of our federal government,” said State Secretary Oliver Luksic, BMDV. “The fact that the development project plans to use existing industrial facilities promises a quick realisation of the M2SAF project along with scalability of production to industrial levels. These are crucial factors in providing the best support in our transformation to net zero carbon.”
In addition to catalyst development, process development, plant integration and the design of a demo plant, the project also includes technological-economic and environmental analysis as well as related support for the certification and analysis of the new jet fuels.
SAF are a sustainable alternative to conventional kerosene and can be used as drop-in fuel without any modifications to the engines or infrastructure. Numerous technologies based on the use of sustainable biomass or on renewable energies are currently under development. European aviation fuel legislation also mandates the use of SAF (of biological and non-biological origin) by 2030. One thing all current SAF types have in common is that they are used in a blend with conventional kerosene. However, depending on the production route, the blend is usually limited.
Martijn van Koten, OMV Executive Officer Refining: “OMV aims to become a leading supplier of sustainable fuels, chemicals and materials. The development of new production routes for sustainable aviation fuel from CO2 and green hydrogen are crucial for a successful transformation. That’s why we are excited to be part of the M2SAF consortium and look forward to rapidly advancing the development and production of SAF based on green methanol, scaling it up, and making it available to the market. The handover of the funding certificate by the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport, State Secretary Oliver Luksic, once again underlines the importance of the project and represents an important milestone for our M2SAF consortium”.
Cord Landsmann, CEO thyssenkrupp Uhde: “As part of the consortium, we are pleased to be able to support an important step towards climate-neutral mobility. As a globally active plant engineer and builder, we can use this stimulus project as an effective and synergic way to expand our sustainability strategy around our green technologies for the production of hydrogen, ammonia and methanol. Based on our expertise and current R&D activities, we would also like to make an important contribution to the successful energy transformation in the downstream area with new processes for the sustainable production of chemicals and fuels”.
“We are proud to be able to advance sustainable solutions together with our partners in the M2SAF project”, says Detlef Ruff, Senior Vice President BASF Process Catalysts. “To address climate change, we will develop alternatives to fossil fuels. Catalysts will play a central role on the path to net zero as they will in this project as well. The M2SAF project thereby offers an excellent opportunity to play our part and contribute our knowledge. Based on our many years of experience in the development and production of catalysts, we want to help shape the project successfully”.
Background info on the members of the M2SAF consortium:
As the global leader, BASF Process Catalysts develops innovative chemical and refinery catalysts with the customers’ needs in mind. In the M2SAF project, BASF Process Catalysts is responsible for developing and providing the catalyst. For this, BASF Process Catalysts will draw on its broad range of commercial catalysts and work closely with its R&D team to develop new and innovative solutions for the M2SAF value chain.
As a globally active plant engineer and builder, Thyssenkrupp Uhde has extensive expertise in engineering and commercialisation and is also active as a process provider for a range of sustainable technologies. In the M2SAF project, thyssenkrupp Uhde is responsible for developing the technology, optimising the process steps with regard to reaction control and efficiency, integrating the individual processes into an economical and sustainable overall process, as well as designing the demo plant including the costing of a commercial plant.
OMV is committed to providing answers to a changing world and the challenges of climate change, and to becoming an integrated supplier of sustainable fuels, chemicals and materials with a strong focus on circular economy solutions. OMV has pledged to support the aviation industry’s efforts to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and sees SAF as an important extension of its jet fuel range. Innovation and forward-looking technologies are essential in order to achieve climate and greenhouse gas emission targets. OMV aims to become a net zero company by 2050 at the latest (for Scope 1, 2 and 3). SAF is a key contributor in achieving the strategic sustainability goals. The planned increase in SAF production to 700,000 tonnes in 2030 will play an important role in meeting these targets.
DLR has a wide range of experience in evaluating synthetic aviation fuels along with methods and international networks for this purpose. As a member of ASTM, DLR supports the design of new standards (e.g. a 100% SAF). For the approval of new fuels, DLR is the contact partner for fuel prescreening. In M2SAF, DLR is responsible for assessing the likelihood of approval of the fuels produced using advanced machine learning models, as well as that of the manufacturing process using technological-economic and environmental analysis.
ASG is a DAkkS-certified testing laboratory for the analysis of fuels and deals with standard and special analysis for liquid, solid and gaseous fuels. In addition to fossil fuels, the focus is primarily on regenerative fuels. Here, ASG is able to adapt methods such as two-dimensional gas chromatography for the specific analysis of regenerative fuels. For the M2SAF project, these methods are combined with novel detectors in order to enable the complete characterisation of complex substance mixtures, including trace components, together with established methods. To implement the results in generally available fuel standards, ASG also has years of expertise as part of national and international standardisation bodies.