One of the most pressing issues of the modern age is energy production and consumption. Our current methods of producing and consuming energy are (quite literally) destroying the planet. However, there are a number of individuals who are working to ensure that humanity develops sustainable practices, and in an astounding new breakthrough, scientists announced that, for the first time, they created solar jet fuel. Amazingly, this process uses just sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide as a means of production.
European scientists accomplished this feat by using simulated, concentrated sunlight at a temperature of approximately 1300 degrees Fahrenheit (about 700 degrees Celsius) in order to convert and separate water and carbon dioxide into a synthetic gas. This gas is made of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and the synthetic production can be turned into kerosene.
According to the Solar-Jet statement, “Increasing environmental and supply security issues are leading the aviation sector to seek alternative fuels which can be used interchangeably with today’s jet fuel, so-called drop-in solutions”, states Dr. Andreas Sizmann, the project coordinator at Bauhaus Luftfahrt. “With this first-ever proof-of-concept for ‘solar’ kerosene, the SOLAR-JET project has made a major step towards truly sustainable fuels with virtually unlimited feedstocks in the future.”
In short, this new process could revolutionize aviation and help save Earth’s fragile ecosystem from further devastation. Moreover, this process has also the potential to produce other types of fuel for transport applications: Diesel, gasoline, or even pure hydrogen. However, to date, the scientists have only made a single jar of the solar jet fuel. Nevertheless, they hope to someday upscale production so that 20,000 liters of jet fuel could be made per day.
It may soon be possible to obtain a more sustainable, limitless supply of fuel; however, we will need to be willing to really invest in these new developments in order to make them viable, which is something that big businesses may not be overly fond of when it comes to economic concerns. Nevertheless, when one is forced to choose either the environment or money, the choice should be clear.