Today’s Solutions: December 04, 2021

Earlier this month, Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) set a Guinness World Record for completing the world’s first flight that was powered entirely by synthetic fuel.

According to a government press release, senior test pilot Group Captain Peter Hackett took off from Cotswold Airport on the Ikarus C42 microlight aircraft for a flight that lasted 21 minutes. The historic journey was fueled with synthetic gasoline from the British synthetic fuel company Zero Petroleum.

The development of synthetic fuel is a part of a bigger project called The Raf’s Project MARTIN, its main aim being to reduce carbon emissions linked with air travel by 90 percent per flight without compromising aircraft performance.

Why not just go electric?

While electrifying commuter transport offers everyday people a great opportunity to reduce their carbon emissions, the military cannot always rely on charger networks, especially if they are in remote areas of the world. That’s why there is a need for synthetic fuel.

How is synthetic fuel made?

Synthetic fuel is made by capturing carbon dioxide from the air and converting that carbon dioxide into fuel by adding hydrogen molecules from water. This means that synthetic fuel can deliver the same energy density as fossil fuels but do not add to carbon emissions. Synthetic fuel can also be used with conventional engines as they are.

Creating synthetic fuel takes a lot of energy itself, however, companies such as Zero Petroleum are investing in renewable energy sources to produce synthetic fuel so that its production is as green as possible.

“Whilst green technologies like electric and hydrogen power generation are viable for many RAF platforms, high-performance aircraft require a liquid fuel alternative, to maintain operational capabilities,” said Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, in a press release.

The RAF is hoping to set up a Net Zero airbase by 2025 and to become a completely Net Zero force by 2040.

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