Week 50/2018

CO2: Don't waste it, reuse it!

The innovative CAPHENIA process can significantly reduce CO2 emissions from the transport sector.
The innovative CAPHENIA process can significantly reduce CO2 emissions from the transport sector.
Obtaining CO2 from the exhaust gases of power plants is not a major challenge today. But what to do with the environmentally unfriendly gas? A new process promises nothing less than a revolution: excess CO2 can be recycled as a raw material for synthetic fuels and, as kerosene, make air traffic more climate-friendly.

Enormous savings potential

The Bavarian start-up CAPHENIA GmbH intends to implement precisely this idea: to develop a fuel for aircraft from CO2. In the new CAPHENIA process – to put it simply – natural gas and CO2 are converted into fuel in a reactor with the help of electricity from renewable energies. This can replace petrol, diesel or kerosene from fossil sources. By reusing CO2 emitted by industrial plants, for example, this fuel saves up to 30 percent of CO2 emissions compared to conventional fuels.

 

Synthetic fuels are most valuable in air traffic, where renewable alternatives like those available on the road or on rails are lacking. Electrification of aircraft with more than 100 passengers is not feasible in the medium term. And in contrast to biofuels, synthetic kerosene does not require land that would compete with food production.

The objectives of aviation are ambitious: aviation aims to halve its net CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 2005. In addition to increasing the efficiency of aircraft and biofuels, innovative technologies such as synthetic fuels are a promising option. CAPHENIA GmbH is a pioneer in this regard: the CAPHENIA process will be ready for the market in a few years, and the existing infrastructure at airports can generally be used for synthetic fuels.

Testing starts

CAPHENIA GmbH has already registered almost 200 patents in conjunction with the new process. As a next step, a first reactor is planned to test the process on a large scale. For Germany in particular, the process offers the opportunity to once again become a global technology leader. What's more: even the production of the synthetic fuel would be possible in Germany and could create jobs and added value.