Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) and the Lufthansa Group have concluded a strategic collaboration with ETH Zurich spinoff Synhelion to bring solar aviation fuel to market. This will make SWISS the first airline in the world to use solar kerosene. “Our team-up with Synhelion is founded on our shared vision to make carbon-neutral flying in regular flight operations possible through the use of solar fuel,” explains SWISS Chief Executive Officer Dieter Vranckx. “We are proud that SWISS will be the first airline in the world to fly with solar kerosene. In partnering with Synhelion, we are supporting Swiss innovation and are actively pursuing and promoting the development, the market introduction and the scaling-up of this highly promising technology for producing sustainable fuels.”
“We believe in a globalized world connected by climate-friendly mobility,” adds Dr. Philipp Furler, Synhelion’s co-founder and CEO. “Our next-generation carbon-neutral solar kerosene is an economically and ecologically viable substitute for fossil fuels. The commitment of SWISS and the Lufthansa Group underlines the aviation sector’s keen interest in our solar fuel. And we are looking forward already to the day the first SWISS aircraft takes off with our solar kerosene.”
Synhelion has developed a key technology for manufacturing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from renewable energy sources. The unique procedure uses concentrated solar heat to manufacture syngas which can then be synthesized into kerosene using standard industrial processes. This sun-to-liquid fuel closes the fuel carbon cycle: when combusted, it will only produce as much CO2 as went into its manufacture. The new fuel thus makes a major contribution to effectively decarbonizing air transport.
Synhelion will build the world’s first-ever facility for the industrial production of solar fuel in Jülich (Germany) this year. SWISS is set to become the first customer for the solar kerosene in 2023. Under the collaboration now concluded, SWISS and the Lufthansa Group will support the development of Synhelion’s planned commercial fuel production facility in Spain, too.
Swiss pioneer Synhelion, SWISS, Edelweiss and the Lufthansa Group have been working together since 2020 to help reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of Swiss aviation through the use of solar fuels.
Philipp Stocker (Pilot); Erin Beilharz (Head of Lufthansa CleanTech Hub); Gianluca Ambrosetti (Co-CEO Synhelion); Dieter Vranckx (CEO SWISS); Carmen Murer (Head of Communications Synhelion); Jan Pechstein (Head of Corporate Emissions Management & SAF Lufthansa Group); Melanie Heiniger (Corporate Responsibility SWISS); Philipp Furler (Co-CEO Synhelion); Nadège von Hansen (Flight Attendant).
The Lufthansa Group and SWISS have been pursuing and promoting comprehensive measures to minimize their carbon dioxide emissions for several years now, and work closely with their partners to steadily further reduce the environmental impact of their business and operational activities. SWISS will be substantially increasing its use of sustainable aviation fuels in the next few years to help achieve its climate objectives. In view of the limited availability of biofuels, however, alternatives will be required. “This is why we are actively supporting the development of solar fuels,” stresses SWISS CEO Vranckx. “We want to be a pioneer in their use. So our involvement with Synhelion is a key element in our long-term sustainability strategy.”
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