South African energy giant, Sasol Limited, in partnership with German sustainable energy systems researcher, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), will lead an international consortium which seeks to develop and optimise next-generation catalysts that will play a key role in decarbonising the aviation sector through sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in May attended the launch of CARE-O-SENE (Catalyst Research for Sustainable Kerosene) research project at Sasol’s headquarters in Johannesburg. The project will be funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and Sasol.
In the consortium, Sasol is joining forces with five other world-leading organisations in Germany and South Africa to accelerate the development of catalysts that are essential to produce green kerosene on a commercial scale through Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology.
Other project partners in the CARE-O-SENE project include the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the University of Cape Town’s Department of Chemical Engineering (UCT) and INERATEC GmbH.
“We are delighted to have been selected to lead this important project,” said Fleetwood Grobler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sasol Limited. “Our expertise in FT technology and catalysts makes us the ideal partner to help Germany and the world decarbonise the aviation sector and make it sustainable over the long-term.”
The CARE-O-SENE project’s objectives
The CARE-O-SENE project will run for three years and pursue the goal of setting the course for large-scale commercialisation of green kerosene production by 2025 with its research on catalysts. Catalysts are used to speed up chemical reactions, increase the yield and improve the quality of refined products. The new FT catalysts are expected to increase the fuel yield of the process to over 80 percent, thereby optimising use of resources.
“CARE-O-SENE will enable us to accelerate innovation in a crucial field of green energy. This can only be achieved in a global partnership by deeply integrating fundamental research and technology development on an industry relevant scale,” said Prof. Dr. Bernd Rech, Scientific Managing Director of HZB.
Unlike conventional kerosene derived from fossil feedstocks, SAF can be made from green hydrogen and sustainable carbon dioxide sources. Developing SAF is key to a sustainable decarbonisation of the hard-to-abate aviation industry, and the main lever for net zero aviation. The underlying technology to develop SAF at scale from green hydrogen and sustainable carbon sources is FT technology which Sasol says has more than 70 years of experience in it.