German aircraft manufacturer Deutsche Aircraft and South African chemicals and energy company Sasol have signed an MoU on advancing technology for green hydrogen-based PtL-SAF in aviation.
Sasol ecoFT and Deutsche Aircraft have both recognised the urgency in transitioning towards climate-neutral aviation. The two companies thus plan to foster the certification of sustainable drop-in and non-drop-in jet fuels, more particularly the ramp-up of PtL-SAF for aviation.
With its D328eco program, Deutsche Aircraft is working on an aircraft in the under 50-seat market, that will achieve near carbon neutrality. The aircraft, which is scheduled to be certified in 2026, will be able to use 100% H2-SAF (PtL) on top of any other certified sustainable aviation fuel and regular kerosene.
Sasol ecoFT is an ideal partner for that task as the South African company is the world leader in FT (Fischer-Tropsch) technology. Sasol ecoFT leverages Sasol’s extensive FT experience, proprietary technology, and catalysts to produce sustainable fuels and chemicals via Power-to-X processes.
PtL-SAF is a scalable and thus a long-term solution to minimise aviation’s carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint. The process uses, for example, CO2 recycled from regular air, and hydrogen, produced with green energy, to form a synthetic fuel. Fuels like this still have similar characteristics to regular kerosene: high energy density at low volume, proven safety, and distribution by established infrastructure. Furthermore, these fuels contain less aromatics and sulphur, thus improving local air quality and reducing aviation’s high-altitude impact.
Deutsche Aircraft and Sasol will not only work on technology and production aspects of H2-SAF (PtL), but also aim at a certification for this type of fuel to be used as drop-in or non-drop-in jet fuel.
PtL-SAF is chemically similar to Coal-to-Liquid (CtL), in which Sasol has deep global experience at deploying at an industrial scale. As a first step of their partnership, Sasol ecoFT and Deutsche Aircraft will explore the compatibility of materials and system components with blended synthetic fuels produced through Sasol’s FT technology currently applied in its existing CtL process. The priority of this aspect of the project is to expedite the certification of more sustainable PtL-SAF options.
Dave Jackson, CEO of Deutsche Aircraft, said, “Sasol ecoFT and Deutsche Aircraft stand at the beginning of a decarbonisation journey. We both have products originally designed in the age of fossil fuels. Together we can develop rapid solutions to combat climate change by improving our products while building on our heritage and expertise.”
Helge Sachs, Senior Vice President, of Sasol ecoFT, said, “Joining forces between aircraft manufacturers and fuel producers is vital, if we want to ensure that aviation becomes sustainable, while ensuring the highest possible safety standards.”