Late last year, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) in cooperation with Zero Petroleum announced a world first by flying an aircraft, an Ikarus C42 microlight, using only synthetic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
This innovation is part of the RAF’s Project MARTIN and has the potential to save 80-90% of carbon per flight, supporting the RAF’s vision that power-to-X fuel will have a major role in powering the fast jets of the future.
Zero Petroleum manufactures its synthetic fuel from air and water. It extracts hydrogen from water and carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Using energy generated from renewable sources like wind or solar, the hydrogen and carbon are combined under heat and pressure with metal catalysts to be turned into SAF.
The RAF’S Rapid Capabilities Office is already funding two SAF projects and it is hoped that at least one of the processes may be portable. RAF plans for their first Net Zero airbase by 2025, and goal of a Net Zero force by 2040.
More on RAF’s Project MARTIN here.