Over £2M To Amplify Hydrogen Fuel Production for Aviation
OXCCU has won a £2.8 million grant from the government to demonstrate a carbon hydrogenation process to turn carbon into sustainable aviation fuel. How will this project help to boost hydrogen fuel production for aviation?

The project, conducted in association with the University of Sheffield Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC) and Coryton, presents a new approach to SAF production.

TERC is part of the University’s Energy Institute, and its aim is to work with industry partners to find solutions to the biggest challenges facing the energy industry. Its research is interdisciplinary with innovation and collaboration, enabling researchers in the institute to provide sustainable solutions and advice for governments and the energy industry.

Coryton is a leading supplier of bespoke fuels and is providing specialist, advanced fuel solutions to its partners across a range of industries. It creates 4,000 unique blends annually, more than 14 million litres of bespoke fuels in total.

The conversion process has been simplified to just one step

This project is focusing on directly converting carbon and hydrogen to hydrocarbons. OXCCU technology means that this traditionally multi-step process has been simplified to just one step.

Located at the TERC, the reactor will be fed with biogenic carbon captured from biomass combustion and hydrogen produced onsite from electrolysis using green electricity.

Following this, the fuel is then blended via Coryton to produce a fuel of Jet A-1 specification.

The OXCCU process has a very low energy input and in addition to jet-fuel range hydrocarbons, it can also be programmed to produce valuable chemicals, alpha-olefins, surfactants, synthetic lubricants, and plasticisers.

Becoming more cost-effective is key to boosting commercial aviation

The UK Government has committed to having at least five commercial SAF plants under construction in the UK by 2025.

As part of its aim to position the UK as a world leader in SAF, it has recently announced new measures to support the industry, with a revenue certainty scheme to boost uptake and create jobs. It views low or zero-emission technologies as crucial to reaching its sustainability and net zero targets.

Aviation still needs hydrocarbons, however, to reach these targets, they need to be created without the use of fossil fuels. Traditional biofuels have well-known issues with scale due to limited feedstocks, and e-fuels or synthetic fuels based on carbon have great potential to scale with fewer feedstock constraints. These face challenges due to cost.

OXCCU’s patented technology consolidates the traditional hydrocarbon production process from two steps (Reverse Water Gas Shift then Fischer-Tropsch) to one direct hydrogenation process.

This one-step direct process offers a cost-effective solution and helps to open up opportunities for the future of commercial aviation.

OXCCU CEO Andrew Symes explained that this project will help to amplify hydrogen fuel production for aviation: “We’re proud to be part of the UK’s journey to cement itself as a leader in clean aviation and to help scale world-first technologies in sustainable aviation fuel.”

This new investment from the AFF will be a welcome contribution to our efforts to help the industry meet the high targets it has set.

Government funding for projects like this one will be essential in decarbonising hard-to-abate industries and helping to build confidence in hydrogen technology for these sectors.