SWISS to become the first airline to use solar fuel

SWISS to become the first airline to use solar fuel

The national flag carrier of Switzerland, SWISS, is set to become the first airline in the world to use Synhelion solar fuel. The new process allows aviation fuel to be produced using solar heat, making it a semi-renewable source of energy.

Solar power can make heat into kerosene fuel

The “sun-to-liquid” fuel will be used by the airline in collaboration with Synhelion - the developer of the technology. Travellers from Swiss airports will see the special fuel used for flying by 2023, with SWISS becoming the first airline in the world to use such technology.

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is created by using concentrated solar heat to manufacture "syngas," which can then be synthesised into kerosene using standard industrial practices. The technology was developed at ETH Zurich - a Swiss university - and is designed to be renewable and to produce less CO2 than kerosene sourced from crude oil.

Solar fuel to help decarbonise air travel

SWISS hopes the technology will help “decarbonise” air transport. The fuel itself was developed in Zurich, but a manufacturing plant will be built in Jülich in western Germany in 2022 to mass-produce the fuel. 

Co-founder and CTO of Synhelion, Dr Philipp Furler, said the company is “already looking forward to the day the first SWISS aircraft takes off with our solar kerosene.” It is hoped that the technology will provide more sustainable fuels for air travel and utilities in the period between now and more carbon-neutral transport being developed.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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