In Berlin, representatives from Lufthansa Airlines, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Airbus, Flughafen München GmbH, and MTU Aero Engines have joined forces to sign a significant Letter of Intent (LoI). Their collaboration aims to drive research and development in Power-to-Liquid (PtL) aviation fuels, the next generation of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).
Lufthansa Collaboration Scaling PtL Sustainable Aviation Fuels in Germany
With a clear focus on sustainability and the energy transition in aviation, this partnership will expedite the selection, introduction, and scaling of PtL aviation fuels in Germany. The initiative also encompasses various aspects of the value chain, such as maintenance requirements and the positive impact on local air quality.
Additionally, the cooperation may involve testing pure PtL fuels without including fossil kerosene to gather vital information for approval. This collective effort strengthens the commitment to creating a more sustainable future for aviation.
In addition, the cooperation partners intend to examine the extent to which PtL fuels have the potential to save large quantities of CO2 and influence the so-called non-CO2 emissions positively.
Research Collaborations for Aviation Sustainability
“Research collaborations like this are essential for developing pioneering solutions for the climate-friendly transformation of air traffic. As Germany’s largest airline, we are firmly committed to making flying more sustainable step by step. I am convinced that we will succeed with the combined know-how from aviation and science and that we will also strengthen Germany as a business location,” says Jens Ritter, CEO of Lufthansa Airlines.
“DLR conducts research to protect the environment and the climate. One goal is the future climate compatibility of aviation. To achieve this, Sustainable Aviation Fuels are indispensable in large quantities,” says Prof. Dr. Meike Jipp, Divisional Board Member for Energy and Transport at DLR. “This is why we are developing production processes that support an economical aviation supply and are constantly optimizing SAF. This can decisively reduce the impact of aviation on the environment and climate.”
SAF Plays a Key Role in Decarbonization for Airbus
“Sustainable Aviation Fuels play a key role in decarbonization for Airbus. Today, our aircraft can use SAF up to a quota of 50 percent, and approval for up to 100 percent is underway. We are delighted about this further deepening of our cooperation. The topic of PtL requires a team effort from aircraft manufacturers, airports, research partners such as DLR and airlines,” says Nicole Dreyer-Langlet, a member of the Airbus management board in Germany responsible for research and technology.
“The signing of this Letter of Intent marks an outstanding step towards a sustainable future for the aviation industry. With our cooperation partners from aviation, aircraft technology, and research, we are resolutely committed to accelerating Power-to-Liquid aviation fuels’ development and industrial scaling. This innovative technology can significantly improve aviation’s carbon footprint, make air travel more environmentally friendly, and achieve our climate targets,” says Jost Lammers, CEO of Flughafen München GmbH.
“On the road to zero-emission flying, MTU is pursuing two thrusts: the further development of the gas turbine and completely new propulsion technologies. For both, SAF is important in achieving the maximum climate impact reduction. They can already be used drop-in today. In the short term, large production capacities must be created. That is what we are committed to, and that is why we are participating in this important technology partnership,” says Lars Wagner, CEO of MTU Aero Engines AG.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels are Essential for the Future of Aviation
Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) do not use fossil feedstocks like crude oil and meet other sustainability criteria. They are essential for reducing emissions from air traffic and, in particular, its impact on climate. The range of possible raw materials and technologies for the production of SAF is wide. In addition to SAF from biogenic residues, which are currently available in small quantities, the Power-to-Liquid (PtL) process appears particularly promising from an environmental and scaling perspective. In this next generation of SAF, producers use regeneratively generated electricity, water, and CO₂ from the atmosphere to create syngas to produce sustainable aviation fuel.