Jet fuel from the air? How DOD contract aims to experiment with sustainable aviation fuel
Author: Zach Wichter
Sustainable aviation fuel startup Air Company announced a $65 million deal on February 28, 2023 with the Department of Defense. Under the agreement, Air Company will have a chance to further develop its technology and eventually produce fuel for the Air Force directly from atmospheric carbon dioxide on military bases around the world. "These contracts allow you to focus on the growth of technology and the development of technology," Air Company CEO Gregory Constantine told USA on February 28, 2023. He said the deal puts the company's technology one step closer to eventually powering commercial flights – a sign of how quickly sustainable aviation fuel technology, or SAF, is evolving and being implemented. According to Constantine, Air Company uses a process to produce fuel by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and combining it with sustainably produced hydrogen. The resulting reaction creates a mix of alcohols and paraffins that can be burned as fuel in combustion engines. "The core of our technology is really centered around carbon utilization," he said, estimating that if all the methanol, ethanol and kerosene-dependent industries switched to this technology to produce their fuel, roughly 10% of global CO2 emissions would be mitigated.