Decarbonising the transport sector is a major societal challenge. In the long-term future, electrification or hydrogen can provide solutions, but certain sub-sectors such as aviation will still rely on liquid hydrocarbon fuels. As the sustainable production potential of biofuels is limited, radically different non-biomass non-fossil fuel production pathways must be developed. SUN-to-LIQUID develops a technology that has the potential to meet future renewable fuel demand with a high potential for greenhouse gas emission reduction. SUN-to-LIQUID hydrocarbon fuel is produced from the abundant feedstocks H2O, CO2 and solar energy without the conflict of using arable land. Therefore, in the long term it may have a profound positive impact on energy supply security worldwide, on minimizing the carbon footprint of e.g. aviation and, also on the socio-economic development of economically challenged regions with arid climate, high levels of solar radiation and non-arable land.
The core conversion technology is a thermochemical redox cycle based on metal oxide material, driven by concentrated solar radiation, utilizing the full solar spectrum and operating at high temperatures. It therefore provides a thermodynamically favourable path to solar fuel production with high sunlight-to-fuel energy conversion efficiency and, consequently, economic competitiveness.
In 2014, the FP7 project SOLAR-JET achieved the first production of solar jet fuel, and SUN-to-LIQUID aims at advancing this technology from the laboratory to the field phase. The ambition is to advance solar fuel production technology well beyond the state of the art and to guide the further scale-up towards a reliable basis for development for future competitive industrial exploitation.
Consortium: SUN-to-LIQUID joins leading European research and innovation players in the field of solar thermochemical fuel research, namely ETH Zurich (CH), IMDEA Energía (ES), DLR (DE), Abengoa Research (ES) and HyGear Technology & Services B.V. (NL). The coordinator, Bauhaus Luftfahrt (DE), takes responsibility for the system analyses and ARTTIC (FR) takes care of the day-to-day management tasks.