SUJECO: Sustainable Jetfuel from CO2

In October, project SUEJCO was successfully started with the kick-off meeting. The project will develop a combined chemo-biological process for conversion of CO2 from industrial sources and renewable hydrogen into sustainable jetfuel.

SUEJCO is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency as part of the Take-off call to promote the development of the Austrian aviation industry.

Carried out by a broad national consortium across Austria, including both academic (Technische Universität Wien, Montanuniversität Leoben – VTIU and K1-Met) and industrial (OMV, Voestalpine, Austrian Airlines) partners, SUJECO will allow two highly motivated PhD students to work on their dissertation in our team.

The SUJECO project wants to solve this problem with a new and sustainable technology, suitable for implementation in large scale. In a two-step bioprocess, alcohols shall be produced from renewable hydrogen and from CO2 from industrial operations. Those alcohols shall then be further processed in a 3rd step in a crude oil refinery into renewable jet fuels. To facilitate activation of chemically inactive CO2 and thus production of bio jet fuel, energy from renewable sources such as sun, water and wind will be used to generate hydrogen. The carbon dioxide itself needed to produce liquid fuels, will be readily captured from large industrial installations such as steel mills.

In a first biotechnological step, Acetobacterium woodii will produce acetate from hydrogen and CO2. In a second biotechnological step, genetically modified bacteria will produce higher alcohols from acetate. Those alcohols will then be further processed and refined to obtain standard jet fuels in a complex refinery process (3rd step). Because higher alcohols are better suited for those refinery processes than ethanol, the SUJECO process will be superior in efficiency over processes with ethanol as an intermediate.

As the SUJECO process is still in the research phase, part of the work includes also evaluation of economic, legal and process related aspects of the technology. At the end of the project it should be secured that the fuel can be certified for use in aviation, the market volume should be established with reasonable accuracy and the availability of CO2 should be verified.

If you want to know more about the project, discuss a potential cooperation or join us for your bachelor/master thesis, please contact Stefan Pflügl