26th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Sustainable Chemistries and Processes to Decarbonize Aviation Fuel

Symposium Organizers: Michael R. Thorson, Senior Chemical Engineer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories; Karthikeyan Ramasamy, Senior Chemical Engineer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, and;  Zia Haq, Senior Analyst, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories

Demand for liquid aviation fuels is currently 3.6 EJ and is projected to double in the next 30 years. In ground-transportation, fuel use is expected to decline due to emerging technologies such as electrification, or due to engine efficiency improvements; no such opportunities exist in aviation due to the high energy density requirement; however, aviation fuels are expected to require liquid fuels for the foreseeable future. Thus, there is a need, and large opportunity, to discover and deploy pathways for sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Jet fuel chemical composition specifications are unique from other fuel classes (e.g., gasoline and diesel) in that fuel quality is essential, with no heteroatoms, metal contaminants, alkenes, or trace water allowed. Further, there is a strong desire to displace the aromatic content to reduce sooting behavior and increase energy density. In the nearer term there are opportunities for aviation original engine manufacturers (OEMs) and airlines to reduce emissions of CO2, soot, sulfur, contrails, and NOx while also maintaining the other mandatory operation (safety) and performance metrics of the fuel.

This session will focus on the following gaps:

  1. Development of novel sustainable chemistries and/or process that utilize lower-cost waste carbon sources
  2. Understand the chemistry interactions to address knowledge gaps in structure-function relationships, blending behavior and decision optimization (i.e., identification of chemical structures and blends that optimize emissions reductions, thermal stability and energy content, while maintaining other key fuel requirements)
  3. The value conferred from these improved fuels is undefined
  4. Reduce costs associated with producing and/or deploying SAF
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