Zurich/Lugano/Cologne - Lufthansa is teaming up with researchers from ETH Zurich and its two spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion. The aim here is to drive forward the development of new jet fuels on the basis of renewable energies to facilitate climate-neutral flights.

Lufthansa is teaming up with researchers from ETH Zurich and its two spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion.


Lufthansa has signed a joint Letter of Intent for a collaboration with researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) in addition to its two spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion. The partnership was initiated by the two Switzerland-based Lufthansa subsidiaries Swiss and Edelweiss, as revealed in a press release.

The aim of the cooperation is to accelerate the development and market launch of sustainable jet fuels. To this end, a combination of Swiss technologies is to be leveraged, allowing a CO2-neutral aviation fuel to be manufactured using a combination of sunlight, water and ambient air.

The Zurich-based firm Climeworks has developed a technology that allows CO2 to be extracted from the atmosphere. This CO2 is then converted into a synthesis gas with the help of water and concentrated sunlight. At this point, the expertise of Synhelion from Lugano comes into play. The synthesis gas produced in this manner can then be used to produce a fuel. According to information in the press release, a fuel of this kind releases only as much CO2 as was previously extracted from the ambient air.

Thanks to a mini refinery housed on the roof of the ETH Machine Laboratory building in Zurich, the Swiss researchers have already proven in 2019 that their technology for the production of a CO2, water and sunlight-based fuel does work. An additional pilot system has already been presented in Madrid.

Together with Lufthansa, the researchers want to prepare this technology for industrial scale production in the future. In addition, the partners are also intending to work out acceptance quotas for sustainable aviation fuels with the aim of supporting future demonstration projects undertaken by the partners. Further contents of this cooperations are to be defined by the end of 2020.

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