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The U.S. Air Force Plans To Create Jet Fuel From Atmospheric CO2

Nov, 2021

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Jet fuel developed from carbon dioxide may power aircrafts like the K-135 Stratotanker, according the air force.

The U.S. air force partnered with Twelve, a carbon transformation company to start a pilot program for conversion CO2 into operationally feasible aviation fuel termed as E-Jet with their proprietary technology. The air force is investigating the viability of the process that is developed by the Twelve to allow the manufacturing of a carbon-neutral jet fuel using CO2 from the air, water and renewable energy.

All the air forces require the supply lines that store and transport the fuel to keep their machines in the air. This whole procedure comes with high cost and complications when it’s about refueling distant bases, not just that, it is also unsafe as these supply lines can become prime targets for the enemies. As reported by the U.S. Air Force, 30% coalition casualties in Afghanistan were caused due to attacks on water and fuel convoys. In order to avoid this, the USAF is trying to find ways, through which its bases won’t require to depend on outside sources of fuel. The USAF looks forward to develop a deployable, scalable synthesis approach without the need for a huge number experts to operate. Twelve developed a process called as industrial photosynthesis, in which electrolysis of polymer electrolyte membrane is used as an inverted fuel cell and comprises a metal catalyst on a cathode for breaking water and carbon dioxide into ions in order to transform them into oxygen, carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

Furthermore, later these ions were put through the Fischer-Tropsch process, which turns them into methane and then organic molecules like ethanol, polyethylene, methane, ethylene and jet fuel. The present phase of this process is likely to complete by December and the results will be then evaluated. The USAF will be producing synthetic fuel without needing coal, biofuel or natural gas, if the technology becomes practical.

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