Aviation is one of the most challenging industries to electrify and decarbonize, but Honeywell International Inc. revealed on Wednesday a new method to manufacture lower-carbon aviation fuel using green hydrogen and carbon dioxide recovered from industry.
Biomass-based feedstocks like soybean oil and recycled cooking oil are often utilized to produce sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF. To manufacture lower-carbon methanol, which is subsequently converted into fuels like SAF, Honeywell’s new method would mix green hydrogen (made in electrolyzers from renewable energy and water) with carbon dioxide taken from industrial smokestacks.
Honeywell claims their method may cut GHG emissions by 88% when compared to conventional jet fuel made from petroleum. The United States aims to produce 3 billion gallons (11.4 billion liters) of SAF annually by 2030 as part of its efforts to combat climate change, according to President Joe Biden’s administration.
Honeywell’s VP of performance materials and technology, Lucian Boldea, told Reuters that the company is excited about the prospect because “CO2 is available everywhere so you have a universally available feedstock.”
SAF is often two to four times more expensive than traditional jet fuel made from petroleum.
“Today, (SAF) requires incentives and the regulations to drive it, and then at some point passengers’ willingness to pay some,” Boldea added.
Honeywell is a leading global provider of airplane avionics and auxiliary power units (APUs), which are miniature jet engines used to power electrical and other systems aboard aircraft. It joins a growing list of initiatives aimed at increasing SAF feedstocks with its release of new fuel technology.
This declaration follows others made recently by aerospace corporations in an effort to reduce aviation’s disproportionately large share of global carbon emissions (2–3% of all emissions). Since experts predict that game-changing engine technology won’t be on the market until the early 2020s, attention in the meanwhile is being directed on the creation of greener fuels.