Skip to content
Home » Aviation Sustainability » Green Skies » Sustainable Aviation Fuel made from H20 and CO2? Danish company plans to make it possible.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel made from H20 and CO2? Danish company plans to make it possible.

Topsoe, a Danish green tech powerhouse, is making waves in the aviation sector with its groundbreaking FrontFuel project.  

Source: Topsoe
  • Revolutionizing the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) landscape, Topsoe is spearheading the FrontFuel project. The venture promises the production of highly efficient SAF using CO2, water, and renewable electricity.
  • The Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) awarded Topsoe a 26.9 million DKK (~US$4 million) grant to further this eco-friendly initiative.

Topsoe, a global leader in carbon emission reduction technologies, has secured the backing of the EUDP for this groundbreaking venture.  

FrontFuel stands as a first-of-its-kind project. It aims to utilize carbon dioxide and renewable energy to manufacture synthetic crude. This innovative process will underscore the value chain of SAF, employing Topsoe’s advanced technology. 

Topsoe is joining forces with Sasol, a global chemicals and energy behemoth with expertise in Fischer Tropsch technology, crucial for SAF production. The production plant will be based at Aarhus University, Denmark, fostering a collaborative environment for this revolutionary project.

“The FrontFuel project marks a thrilling leap towards the commercialization of new technologies for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF),” said Kim Grøn Knudsen, Topsoe’s Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer. He expressed confidence in their expert partners and the support of EUDP, stating, “We believe we can speed up the journey towards commercial production of SAF, playing a significant role in the aviation sector’s decarbonization. 

The Science Behind This Danish Company’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Decarbonizing aviation is no small feat. It’s a task riddled with challenges, like high feedstock costs, scalability, and the need for efficient new technologies. But envision a future where aviation is net-zero. To get there, we require alternative liquid drop-in fuel sources on a large scale.

That’s where FrontFuel steps in. This project will test an integrated process for efficient SAF production. Its aim? To fast-track market penetration and speed up the green transition.

FrontFuel plans to use cutting-edge SOEC technology with eREACT™ (for syngas manufacturing) to feed the Sasol Fischer Tropsch technology for syncrude production. This is anticipated to deliver a top-tier method for SAF production using CO2, water, and renewable electricity. 

Meet the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP)

Acting as a catalyst for innovation in the energy sector, the EUDP (Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program) empowers private enterprises and academic institutions to push the boundaries of energy technology. This support adheres strictly to EU state aid regulations, ensuring fair play in the competitive landscape of energy development. 

To learn more, visit

Innovative Solution to Aviation’s Carbon Emission Problem

Global energy powerhouse Sasol, and carbon emission reduction wizard, Topsoe are joining forces. Their mission? To revolutionize the aviation industry with sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and contribute significantly to the global fight against climate change. 

This future-forward joint venture is set to harness their combined technological prowess, industry knowledge, and experience, aiming to revolutionize SAF production. 

At the heart of the Sasol Topsoe JV is an ambitious vision: to develop, build, own, and operate SAF plants. They intend to market SAF derived mainly from non-fossil feedstock, green hydrogen, sustainable CO2 sources, or biomass. Their strategy focuses on leveraging Sasol’s Fischer Tropsch and Topsoe’s cutting-edge technologies. An audacious move that promises to bring future-proof solutions to the market. 

Fleetwood Grobler, Sasol’s President and CEO, expressed optimism about the partnership, saying: 

“We’re thrilled to team up with Topsoe to accelerate our global SAF ambition. This milestone is a significant stride towards our goal of reaching net zero by 2050. As we pivot towards decarbonization while preserving and expanding value, this JV exemplifies the fruitful collaboration between our two companies over the decades.” 

On the other side of the partnership, Roeland Baan, CEO at Topsoe, also shared his enthusiasm about this groundbreaking venture: 

“This joint venture is a pivotal moment in our shared journey. It’s vital that we keep the world open by building more sustainable ways to fly. Our joint commitment to accelerating SAF is a crucial part of this. We believe there’s no better team than Sasol and Topsoe to bring scalable SAF production to the aviation industry.”

Source: Topsoe

Revolutionizing the Air Travel Industry with Sustainable Aviation Fuel

The aviation industry is stepping up to the climate change plate, pledging to hit net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. The star player in achieving this goal? None other than Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), offering a powerful solution for significant emissions reductions. 

Consider the EU, where a renewable fuels mandate has been established. This requires all aviation fuel suppliers to meet a blending requirement, starting with a minimum share of 2% SAF in 2025, increasing to 6% by 2030, and then a staggering 70% by 2050. 

Tospoe and Sasol are ready to make these numbers a reality. With their comprehensive capabilities, from construction to operation of production, they are poised to expedite this progress. Their sustainable fuels not only reduce carbon emissions but also use renewable energy, enabling them to scale up production quickly and meet global demand. They’re not just delivering on commitments; they’re going above and beyond.


Topsoe’s Flight Plan Green

Source: Topsoe

Read Topsoe’s report on the pathways to sustainable aviation fuel.

Source: Topsoe

What other companies are developing C02-based SAF technology?

Other Nordic Energy Innovators

Get acquainted with Nordic Electrofuel, a brainchild of the forward-thinking Norwegian entrepreneur Rolf Bruknapp, born in 2015. They’re on an audacious mission to shake up the aviation industry by producing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) using the Power-to-Liquid (PtL) pathway, a process powered by renewable energy.  

By harnessing renewable electricity, hydrogen, and CO2, Nordic Electrofuel is committed to producing SAF. Their vision? To offer a scalable and effective solution for decarbonizing the aviation sector. 

Currently, a feasible solution to replace fossil fuels with sustainable energy for long-range transport is elusive. However, electro fuels offer a promising ray of hope. They can seamlessly integrate into existing infrastructure without any modifications. This cost-efficient PtL technology offers the highest GHG reduction compared to other technologies and eliminates particulate pollution.  

Their inaugural plant, E-fuel1, stands tall in Herøya Industrial Park, Porsgrunn, Norway. Designed for an annual production capacity of 10 million liters of synthetic fuels, it’s anticipated to shrink the industrial CO2 footprint by a whopping 25,000 tonnes each year. 

CO2-based SAF Program in Washington State Has Captured Alaska Airlines’ Interest

Source: Twelve

Imagine a world where jets take off powered by fuel made entirely from CO2 and renewable energy. That’s the vision of the carbon transformation company Twelve, as announced by Washington Governor Jay Inslee. During a press conference at the 2023 Paris Air Show, they revealed plans to ramp up the production of their revolutionary E-Jet® fuel at a commercial-scale facility in Moses Lake, WA.

Twelve’s E-Jet fuel is a marvel of modern carbon transformation technology. The secret lies in using renewable energy and water to morph CO2 into critical chemicals and materials that are conventionally derived from fossil fuels. The result? A drop-in synthetic fuel that’s compatible with existing aircraft and has up to 90% lower lifecycle emissions than traditional fossil-based fuels.

But the benefits of E-Jet fuel don’t stop there. This revolutionary fuel also drastically reduces the aviation industry’s reliance on fossil fuels. Plus, it lowers particulate emissions from aircraft, alleviating the environmental impact on neighboring communities. E-Jet fuel isn’t just a step forward—it’s a giant leap toward a more sustainable aviation future, free from the constraints of feedstock.

Why is SAF production critical to Washington State?

“Washington maintains its widely-recognized leadership in the aviation and aerospace industries by creating a competitive business environment that fosters technology innovation, such as carbon transformation, that will help decarbonize the global aviation industry,” said Gov. Inslee. “We’re excited for Twelve to join the growing number of innovative companies that recognize everything that Washington has to offer.”

“Commercial-scale production of E-Jet fuel is a major milestone in our mission of creating a world run on air,” said Twelve co-founder and CEO Nicholas Flanders. “Washington is the perfect location for our facility, with its abundant renewable energy resources to power our carbon transformation process and longstanding global leadership in the aviation industry.”

A groundbreaking event for the facility will take place on July 11 with Gov. Inslee and other regional and local stakeholders who support sustainable aviation fuel development in Washington State. The first customers to receive E-Jet fuel from the plant will be companies and major airlines with which Twelve has existing partnerships, including Shopify, Alaska Airlines, and Microsoft.

Why do we need more SAF solutions now? 

Do you believe that not flying anymore is a solution to climate change?

Consider this: Staying at home, the carbon footprint of the internet, data centers, and the gadgets supporting our digital lives account for about 3.7% of global C02 emissions—and that digital carbon footprint is growing.

Nearly everything you order online would never reach your front door without air transport.  

Air transport is essential to daily life, even if you don’t fly.

That’s why the goal must be to make flying sustainable in the long run.  

Is SAF sustainable?

EU Plans for Sustainable Aviation

The European Union’s proposed ReFuelEU Aviation scheme encourages the use of SAF and outlines an ambitious goal for aviation fuel suppliers: to blend at least 2% of SAF into traditional jet kerosene by 2025, with the aim of reaching 63% by 2050.

The proposed regulation also sets targets for synthetic jet kerosene, starting with a modest 0.7% in 2030 and ramping up to 28% by 2050. This is a clear signal of the EU’s commitment to cleaner skies and a more sustainable aviation industry.

Video: IATA’s Fly Net Zero 2050 Commitment

Read IATA’s Net zero 2050: sustainable aviation fuels Fact Sheet

World Sustainability Symposium: A Leap Towards Greener Aviation 

Mark your calendars for a groundbreaking event! The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is launching the much-anticipated IATA World Sustainability Symposium (WSS) in the vibrant city of Madrid, Spain, on 3-4 October. The event is a beacon of hope as governments worldwide are now echoing the industry’s commitment to making aviation carbon-neutral by 2050.

What’s on the Agenda?

The symposium is set to spark meaningful dialogue in seven critical domains: 

  • Carving out a comprehensive strategy for net-zero emissions by 2050, with a particular focus on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).
  • Unraveling the pivotal role of government and policy support
  • Ensuring effective implementation of sustainability measures
  • Exploring avenues for financing the energy transition
  • Establishing robust systems for measuring, tracking, and reporting emissions
  • Addressing the often-overlooked non-CO2 emissions
  • Understanding the significance of value chains

Airines’ Net-Zero 2050 Commitment

“In 2021, airlines pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In a significant leap forward, governments echoed this commitment through the International Civil Aviation Organization last year. Now, the WSS is poised to unite the global community of sustainability mavens from the industry and governments. We will collectively brainstorm and discuss the key drivers for aviation’s triumphant decarbonization, our most formidable challenge to date,” affirmed Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, who is on the speaker list at WSS. 

The WSS is designed to be a significant platform for airline sustainability professionals, regulatory authorities, policymakers, and stakeholders in the industry’s value chain. 


Prepare to be inspired by the distinguished line-up of speakers: 

  • Patrick Healy, Chair of Cathay Pacific
  • Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group
  • Robert Miller, Professor of Aerothermal Technology and Director of the Whittle Laboratory at the University of Cambridge
  • Suzanne Kearns, Founding Director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aviation (WISA)
  • Andre Zollinger, Policy Manager at Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Marie Owens Thomsen, Senior Vice President of Sustainability and Chief Economist at IATA

For more information and to register, visit the IATA website.

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 300 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.
  • You can follow them at for announcements, policy positions, and other helpful industry information.
  • Learn More About Fly Net Zero

About Topsoe

Founded in 1940, Topsoe is a leading global developer and supplier of decarbonization technology, catalysts, and services for the energy transition. 

Imagine a world where climate change is not an impending doom but a battle won, where our partners and customers achieve their decarbonization and emission-reduction targets, even in notoriously difficult sectors like aviation, shipping, and raw material production. This isn’t a fantasy, it’s the mission at the heart of Topsoe. With their innovative solutions ranging from carbon reduction chemicals to renewable fuels and plastic upcycling, Topsoe stands as a beacon, guiding us towards a sustainable future. 

Topsoe is headquartered in Denmark, with over 2,400 employees serving customers all around the globe. To learn more, visit 

About Sasol

Imagine a world where planes fly on eco-friendly fuel, leaving nothing but clean skies in their wake. That’s the vision of Sasol, a trailblazing global chemicals and energy company. With roots in 22 countries, Sasol is a powerhouse of innovation, integrating sophisticated technologies into world-scale facilities. 

But Sasol is more than just a company; it’s a force for good. It’s driven by a compelling purpose: “Innovating for a better world”. This purpose propels them to deliver triple bottom-line outcomes—People, Planet, and Profit—while maintaining the highest sustainability and safety standards. 

In the spotlight is Sasol ecoFT, a division of the Sasol Group, taking the lead in the global Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) market. Thanks to Sasol’s proprietary FT Technology, it has the tools to make this vision a reality. With a heritage of over 70 years, Sasol ecoFT is leveraging its unique tech and expertise to produce sustainable fuels and chemicals. 

How? By harnessing green hydrogen and sustainable carbon sources through the Power-to-Liquids (PtL) process. This innovative approach allows Sasol to contribute to a thriving planet and society, all while pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

To learn more, visit

About Twelve

In the era of climate consciousness, it’s time for audacious innovation. Meet Twelve, a collective of scientific masterminds and engineering virtuosos dedicated to reshaping our approach to climate change. Their weapon of choice? A revolutionary carbon transformation technology that paves the way to a future unshackled from fossil fuels. 

Previously known as Opus 12, Twelve was conceived from the pioneering research by Dr. Etosha Cave and Dr. Kendra Kuhl at Stanford University’s esteemed Jaramillo Group, a global pacesetter in CO2 electrocatalysis.  

Within these academic walls, they gave birth to their carbon transformation technology. In 2015, Dr. Cave and Dr. Kuhl decided to step out of the lab, armed with a vision to transform the world’s emissions reduction strategy. Their plan? To create essential chemicals from CO2 instead of fossil fuels. Alongside fellow Stanford graduate and clean tech innovator Nicholas Flanders, Twelve was born. 

Fast-forward to today, and Twelve is a thriving squad of electrochemists, material scientists, and engineers, each with unparalleled expertise in CO2electrocatalysis and electrochemical reactor design. They’ve been cherry-picked from the world’s most prestigious programs and are now partnering with industry leaders to bring their carbon transformation technology to life on a grand scale. Equipped with state-of-the-art R&D facilities and the world-class resources of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Twelve is poised to deliver a more sustainable future.


Leave a Reply

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner