New plant in Germany aims to cut flight’s carbon footprint

By The Associated Press

WERLTE: German officials are unveiling on Monday what they say will be the world’s first commercial plant to make synthetic kerosene as part of an effort to reduce the climate impact of flight.

The facility in Verlet, near Germany’s northwestern border with the Netherlands, will use water and electricity from nearby wind farms to produce hydrogen. By adding carbon dioxide, the hydrogen is converted into crude oil, which can then be refined into jet fuel.

Burning synthetic kerosene means that only as much CO2 is released into the atmosphere as was previously removed to produce the fuel, making it “carbon neutral”.

The amount the plant can produce from early next year is modest: just eight barrels a day. This would be enough to fill a small passenger plane every three weeks. The world’s commercial airlines used about 2.3 billion barrels of kerosene in 2019.

But the organizations behind the project say it aims to show that the process is technically feasible and – once scaled up and with sufficient demand – economically viable.

The project is led by Atmosphere, a German non-profit group that provides individuals and companies with ways to offset their carbon emissions. Engineering giant Siemens helped build the plant and national carrier Lufthansa will be the first customer to use synthetic kerosene, or e-fuel.

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