For the Lufthansa Group, Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) are a decisive technological key to making the future of flying almost CO2-neutral. Compared to fossil fuels, SAF reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent. The Lufthansa Group is working on various projects to make more SAF available. Alternative fuels produced from used cooking oil / fats from agricultural production are already available in small quantities. With the "Compensaid" platform, the Lufthansa Innovation Hub has developed a forward-looking customer solution for the use of SAF. Passengers can replace conventional kerosene 1:1 with SAF, regardless of the choice of airline, and thus fly almost CO2-neutral.

Market development of new fuels

In 2019 Lufthansa and Raffinerie Heide signed a joint declaration of intent on the future production and acceptance of electricity-based kerosene. This so-called Power-to-Liquid process is intended to produce a synthetic crude oil from regeneratively generated electricity, water and CO2, which can be processed into kerosene and used in any aircraft. The advantage: when the sustainable kerosene is burned, only as much CO2 is released as was previously removed from the atmosphere during production.

In spring 2020, Representatives of the Lufthansa Group and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) with its spin-offs Clime-works and Synhelion have signed a joint Letter of Intent for a possible cooperation. This should help to accelerate the market launch of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). The researchers and engineers at ETH Zurich have developed innovative processes that make it possible to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and, together with water and with the help of concentrated sunlight, convert it into a synthesis gas that can be used to produce jet fuel. Such a fuel releases only as much CO2 as was previously extracted from the atmosphere. It is the common goal of the signatories to prepare these promising technologies for later production on an industrial scale.

Pioneering achievement

In recent years, the Lufthansa Group has been intensively involved in researching, testing and using sustainable alternative fuels and in 2011 pioneered the world's first long-term testing of biokerosene in regular flight operations. The project was accompanied by detailed emission measurements and research into production processes and biomass availability. Lufthansa demonstrated at that time that sustainable alternative fuels can be used in flight operations without any problems and that no infrastructure adaptation is necessary.

Strict criteria

The Lufthansa Group is involved in various research institutions and industry associations and is in constant exchange about further developments in the field of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Before the aircraft of the Group's airlines can use SAF, various basic requirements must be met. These include, above all, a guaranteed quality specification, sustainability in production and supply routes and, of course, economic efficiency.