Oxford company secures funding for CO2-based jet fuel project

An Oxford University start-up company has teamed with United Airlines to make jet fuel from carbon dioxide. In 2020, Oxford scientists announced they had discovered the process for transforming carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons that could be used to power aircraft.

The team set up OXCCU, which announced at the beginning of June that it had secured £18 million in funding from new investors including two global energy companies and United Airlines. The company said the funding would help turn the product into a reality that could cut carbon emissions from fuel production. The team will be doubling its staff in Oxford as well as building a demonstrator plant at Oxford Airport.

According to OXCCU, while the Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) market is still in development, jet fuel alternatives are already estimated to be costly as most synthesis processes from carbon dioxide require two capital intensive steps.

OXCCU’s technology consolidates the traditional e-hydrocarbons production process from a two-step Reverse Water Gas Shift (RWGS) and Fischer Tropsch (F-T) reaction to a one-step catalytic conversion that is claimed to offer a radically cost effective solution. Available to customers as OXEFUEL, OXCCU’s sustainable aviation fuel is created by combining captured carbon dioxide and renewably sourced green hydrogen through a novel iron based catalyst, resulting in a more cost effective and decarbonised alternative to fossil based jet fuel for commercial airlines.

“This breakthrough is exactly what we need to turn the emerging SAF market into reality and cost-effectively cut carbon emissions from fuel production at scale,” said Daniel Goldman, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Clean Energy Ventures. “OXCCU’s process is unique in the emerging SAF industry based on our evaluation of dozens of technologies. We see extraordinary potential for this technology to mitigate new aviation fuel production emissions at gigaton scale in the near future, and we are pleased to lead an extraordinary consortium of industry leaders to support the company in its commercialisation and deployment.”

Airlines have consistently maintained that the cost competitiveness of SAF is their biggest barrier to adoption, and based on projected renewable energy costs in key production locations, OXCCU claims that its technology can achieve cost parity. Modelling completed by independent researchers from Imperial College London has shown that OXCCU’s one-step process significantly reduces SAF cost due to higher selectivity yield in the jet fuel range and a 50% lower capital cost.

Image accredited to OXCCU Media

Author: FTN Editor

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