Sustainable kerosene: Accelerating production on an industrial scale

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the international CARE-O-SENE research project (Catalyst Research for Sustainable Kerosene) with 30 million euros.

Its aim is to improve the production of sustainable kerosene on an industrial scale. To this end, the collaborative partners, including the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), are developing tailor-made catalysts to further develop the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) established in fuel production for the use of renewable energy sources. The application-oriented project focuses on the development of resource-saving catalysts for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. In this process, hydrogen and carbon monoxide are converted to hydrocarbons and water under high pressure and at high temperatures. The hydrocarbons, which are further slightly modified, are the basis of kerosene. By using green hydrogen and carbon dioxide from biogenic sources or by separation from the air (direct air capture), sustainable kerosene is obtained in this way.  Seven partners from South Africa and Germany are participating in the project. It is coordinated by the integrated chemical and energy company Sasol and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie. The third major partner is KIT with the Institute for Catalysis Research and Technology and the Institute for Industrial Management and Industrial Production. Other partners are Ineratec GmbH, a KIT spin-off, the University of Cape Town, with which KIT has had intensive relations for years, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS).

The measurements of the CATACT beamline at the KIT Light Source will not only provide information about structural changes that can occur during the chemical reaction and cause the reduction of the yield of the target product. Preparation methods such as impregnation, pH-controlled precipitation, co-precipitation and flame spray pyrolysis (FSP), hydro- and solvo-thermal syntheses will be used to optimize reaction parameters and to gain identification of structure-activity correlations (Department of Novel Heterogeneous Catalysts at IKFT). The data generated in these processes will flow into theoretical models and sustainability calculations (Department of Theoretical Catalysis at IKFT). On this basis, IKFT researchers can make predictions about how the catalyst will change and what adjustments will be necessary to make the industrial process stable, ecologically sustainable and economical on this basis.

Project CARE-O-SENE Press Release.


More Highlights

  • CATACT operation since 2017
  • Long time operando studies on FT catalysts
  • Combined XAS/ XRD studies