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Fuel made from air: researchers present an ingenious concept

In experiments, Swiss researchers have succeeded in producing the fuel methanol from the air. On a larger scale, the technology could provide fuel for the aircraft industry, it is hoped. But there is still a long way to go before then.

Fuel from air: promising results presented

Researchers from Zurich have succeeded in extracting various fuels from the air on the roof of their laboratory. At least that was possible within a day and with the help of seven hours of sunshine 32 milliliters of methanol can be won, so the first result. With a different reaction mixture, synthetic kerosene can also be produced. The fuel is used in aircraft – and this is exactly where the researchers see many advantages.

With further development it would be possible with only “a fraction of the surface of the Sahara”, the whole to provide sufficient fuel for the commercial aircraft industry. The researchers have already described details on this in the journal Nature. According to our own calculations, ten mirror farms would be necessary to enable a daily return flight between New York City and London (source: ETH Zurich)

But the fact that you are still at the very beginning makes a not exactly insignificant detail clear: the process is still ongoing not economically viable and the test series is not productive enough. The process is now to be further optimized through more efficient means of storing the gases and better catalysts.

in the Video: This is how the principle of generating energy from air works.

Kerosene from the air: 0.5 percent of the Sahara is enough

In order to meet the huge needs of the aircraft industry, would have to 46,000 square kilometers of the Sahara to be covered with mirror farms. What sounds like a huge area becomes a bit more realistic with a different scale. Only 0.5 percent of the area of ​​the Sahara is enough to produce enough kerosene.

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