PSI and Metafuels produce sustainable aviation fuel


Villigen AG/Langnau am Albis ZH – The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and Zurich-based start-up Metafuels are producing green methanol from hydrogen and carbon dioxide, which in turn is the feedstock for their synthetic kerosene. In the near future, the technology will be used commercially.

PSI and Metafuels have jointly developed a process for producing low-cost kerosene from renewable resources. With their technology called aerobrew, they want to close the carbon cycle and realize the net-zero target in aviation as well by means of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). “Compared to traditional fuel, our technology has the potential to reduce life-cycle carbon emissions by 80 to 95 percent, depending on the production site,” Metafuels co-founder Saurabh Kapoor was quoted as saying in a PSI release.

The carbon dioxide required for the technology comes either directly from the air or from so-called non-food biomass such as wood or other plant waste. The team extracts green hydrogen from renewable energy and water using electrolysis. “From hydrogen and carbon dioxide, we produce green methanol – the feedstock for our synthetic kerosene,” Kapoor said.

As the head of the Energy Systems Integration(ESI) experimental platform at PSI, Marco Ranocchiari, explains, the team was able to develop this process using a catalytic reaction “and significantly increase the selectivity”, i.e. the ratio of yield to conversion, “compared to alternative SAF processes”. And unlike other SAFs, liquid synthetic kerosene “can be integrated directly into the existing airport infrastructure and used in conventional engines.” mm