Swiss International Airlines (Swiss) and the Lufthansa Group, which is a part of Swiss, have concluded a strategic collaboration with the cleantech company Synhelion. According to a press release, this should help with the entry of solar fuel onto the market.
Synhelion was established in Lugano in 2016 as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH). The founders have developed technology that converts concentrated sunlight into “the hottest existing process heat on the market”. The press release goes on to state that this can be used to drive numerous industrial processes with solar heat, such as the production of fuels and cement.
Synhelion plans to build the world’s first plant for the industrial production of carbon-neutral fuels from solar energy this year at Jülich in Germany. Swiss and Lufthansa Group are to support the startup in developing a commercial fuel production facility in Spain. From 2023 on, Swiss will then be the first customer for the solar kerosene produced.
Dieter Vranckx, Swiss Chief Executive Officer, comments in the press release: “We are proud that Swiss will be the first airline in the world to fly with solar kerosene. In partnering with Synhelion, we are supporting Swiss innovation and are actively pursuing and promoting the development, the market introduction and the scaling-up of this highly promising technology for producing sustainable fuels.” The collaboration with Synhelion is said to be a key building block in Swiss’s efforts to reach its climate targets and develop the use of sustainable fuels over the years to come.
CEO and Co-Founder of Synhelion Dr. Philipp Furler is quoted in the press release, saying: “The commitment of Swiss and the Lufthansa Group underlines the aviation sector’s keen interest in our solar fuel. And we are looking forward already to the day the first Swiss aircraft takes off with our solar kerosene.”