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ZURICH: Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is to become the first airline to use zero-carbon fuel from technology company Synhelion that concentrates solar heat into a gas and then synthesizes it into kerosene.

Synhelion evolved from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in 2016 to use solar heat to drive a number of industrial processes including fuel production and cement manufacturing.

Last November the company raised CHF16 million from investors including Swiss KMU Partners, Orchilla, SMS Concast, CEMEX Ventures, AMAG and private interests.

The latest funding round enables it to build and operate the world’s first industrial-scale production of solar fuel at a price competitive with fossil-based kerosene. SWISS will be first customer in 2023.

Synhelion also works with the Lufthansa Group, Wood, Eni, SMS Group, CEMEX and Zurich Airport.

“Our team-up with Synhelion is founded on our shared vision to make carbon-neutral flying in regular flight operations possible through the use of solar fuel,” commented SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx.

“We believe in a globalized world connected by climate-friendly mobility,” added Synhelion co-founder and CEO Philipp Furler, “Our next-generation carbon-neutral solar kerosene is an economically and ecologically viable substitute for fossil fuels.”

SWISS says the sun-to-liquid fuel will only produce as much CO2 as went into its manufacture and will make a major contribution to decarbonizing air transport without relying on the limited supply of biofuels.
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