New research into the use of commercial iron catalysts have found it could enable the conversion of unavoidable or biogenically derived carbon dioxide and green hydrogen into green jet fuel.
In doing so, hydrogen could be directly utilised in the affordable production of green jet fuel that could help decarbonise the aviation industry.
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Led by researchers from Sasol and the Catalysis Institute at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the two groups will leverage its existing Fischer Tropsch (FT) technology and skillset to support the development of South Africa’s hydrogen economy.
Hydrogen and carbon can be converted directly over a single catalyst to a useful range of products, using what is termed “tandem” catalysis, and this is where iron catalysts have been found to be advantageous.
The collaboration with UCT has revealed that Sasol’s iron catalyst can achieve carbon conversions greater than 40%, producing ethylene and light olefins which can be used as chemical feedstocks, and significant quantities of jet fuel.
By creating jet fuel, this opens the door for expanded research into zero-emission aviation, a potentially booming industry that could generate significant funds if applied successfully.
Dr. Cathy Dwyer, Vice-President of Science Research at Sasol Research & Technology, said, “Conversion of green hydrogen together with carbon, a process called carbon hydrogenation, is gaining significant interest worldwide and is a promising way to produce sustainable aviation fuels and chemicals which have a significantly lower carbon footprint.”
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