Project to convert methanol into Sustainable Aviation Fuel (M2SAF) receives EUR 3.1 mn in financing from Germany's Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV)
Five companies from across the value chain (BASF, Thyssenkrupp, OMV, DLR, and ASG) are collaborating on the Methanol-to-SAF project (M2SAF) with the intention of creating a novel process technology that will allow for the selective production of SAF that can be used as a drop-in fuel at concentrations of up to 100%.
This manufacturing method should have low carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rates and be simple to implement in current manufacturing facilities. The starting step of the process is sustainably produced methanol from CO2 and green hydrogen. SAF are a sustainable alternative to regular kerosene and may be used as drop-in fuel without any modifications to the engines or infrastructure
State Secretary Oliver Luksic of the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport officially awarded funds for the M2SAF project on November 16, 2022, in Frankfurt, and gave the official certificate of funding to representatives of the M2SAF consortium. The Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport is investing EUR 3.1 million into the M2SAF development project as part of the larger concept of renewable fuels (BMDV). Beginning in August 2022, the first steps were taken toward completing the 2.5 year long development project. A development platform for PtL fuels, which will show production on a semi-industrial scale and support the market ramp-up of PtL fuels, is being coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by the project lead VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.
"We are pleased to see the bundled know-how and initiative of the renowned industrial companies in the M2SAF consortium," said BMDV State Secretary Oliver Luksic. "These companies want to jointly drive innovation and technologies in order to effectively support the decarbonization of air transport and, in turn, the climate goals of our federal government." “The fact that the development project seeks to employ existing industrial facilities guarantees a speedy implementation of the M2SAF project together with scaling of production to industrial levels. These are essential aspects in providing the best support in our journey to net zero carbon”.
The project entails technological-economic and environmental analysis, as well as related support for the certification and analysis of the new jet fuels, in addition to catalyst development, process development, plant integration, and the design of a demo plant.
Martijn van Koten, OMV Executive Officer Refining: “OMV intends to become a leading supplier of sustainable fuels, chemicals and materials. The development of novel production pathways for sustainable aviation fuel from CO2 and green hydrogen are vital for a successful changeover. In light of this, we are thrilled to be a part of the M2SAF collaboration and look forward to fast progressing the development and manufacturing of SAF based on green methanol, scaling it up, and making it available to the market. The handing of the funding certificate by the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport, State Secretary Oliver Luksic, once again highlights the importance of the project and is a key milestone for our M2SAF consortium”.
"As part of the partnership, we are glad to be able to assist a crucial step toward climate-neutral mobility," said Cord Landsmann, CEO of thyssenkrupp Uhde. This stimulus project has a unique opportunity for us as a globally active plant engineer and builder to develop our sustainability strategy around our green technologies for the production of hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol in a way that is both efficient and synergistic. Our goal is to use our knowledge and ongoing R&D to develop new methods for the environmentally friendly manufacturing of chemicals and fuels, thereby contributing significantly to the downstream sector's successful energy transformation.
“We are happy to be able to promote sustainable solutions along with our partners in the M2SAF project”, says Detlef Ruff, Senior Vice President BASF Process Catalysts. To combat global warming, we will create substitutes for fossil fuels. Catalysts will play a crucial role on the path to net zero as they will in this project as well. So, the M2SAF initiative is a great chance for us to do our part and share what we've learned. Our goal is to contribute to the project's success by contributing our knowledge and expertise in catalyst development and production.
To better understand the M2SAF collaboration, some background information is in order.
As the global leader, BASF Process Catalysts produces novel chemical and refinery catalysts with the customers’ needs in mind. BASF Process Catalysts is in charge of creating and delivering the catalyst for the M2SAF project. BASF Process Catalysts will utilise its extensive catalogue of commercial catalysts and its in-house research and development department to provide cutting-edge products for the M2SAF supply chain.
Thyssenkrupp Uhde, a world-renowned plant engineer and builder, is also a leading process provider for a wide variety of environmentally friendly technologies. thyssenkrupp Uhde is developing the technology, optimising the process steps in terms of reaction control and efficiency, integrating the individual processes into an economical and sustainable overall process, and designing the demo plant, including costing a commercial plant, for the M2SAF project.
OMV is dedicated to being an integrated supplier of sustainable fuels, chemicals, and materials with a strong focus on circular economy solutions in order to respond to the changing world and the concerns of climate change. OMV sees SAF as a significant addition to its jet fuel line and has promised to support the aviation industry's efforts to cut fuel usage and CO2 emissions. In order to meet climate and greenhouse gas emission goals, innovation and cutting-edge technology are required. By the year 2050, OMV hopes to be a "net zero" business (for Scope 1, 2 and 3). The Strategic Sustainability Objectives (SSOs) can't be met without SAF's help. To help achieve these goals, the output of SAF is expected to rise to 700,000 metric tonnes by 2030.
DLR has extensive knowledge, procedures, and worldwide connections for assessing synthetic aviation fuels. DLR is committed to the development of new standards (such as a 100% SAF) and hence participates as an ASTM member. DLR is the official fuel prescreening contact for the approval of new fuels. DLR's role in M2SAF is to conduct technological-economic and environmental analysis of the manufacturing process and the fuels produced by advanced machine learning models.
ASG is a DAkkS-approved fuel testing facility that performs conventional and specific analysis on fuels in liquid, solid, and gaseous forms. Renewable energy sources are being prioritised above their fossil fuel counterparts. For this purpose, ASG is able to modify techniques like two-dimensional gas chromatography for the analysis of renewable fuels. In order to enable the comprehensive characterization of complex substance mixtures, including trace components, these approaches are paired with innovative detectors for the M2SAF project. ASG also has years of experience as part of national and international standardisation groups, allowing them to effectively integrate the results in widely available fuel standards.
OMV has three refineries in Europe and has a 15% ownership in a refining joint venture in the UAE; its Refining & Marketing division produces and markets fuels and feedstock for the chemical sector.
As a global leader in the circular economy, OMV plans to transform from an integrated oil, gas, and chemicals firm into a provider of innovative and sustainable fuels, chemicals, and materials. In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, OMV plans to transition to a low-carbon business model by 2050.