The European Union's Innovation and Science Program, Horizon 2020, states that by the year 2020, 20% of aircraft fuel is to come from renewable energy sources and that given products are to be produced in the country from which the aircraft takes off. Under Professor Thomas Bück's supervision, the basis for the "Algae Aircraft Fuel" project was created. Algae grows much faster than soy beans or corn, does not compete with food production, has no need for fertile soils, freshwater or pesticides, and yields 10 times more than crops per hectare.
Professor Brück is the head Industrial Biocatalyst at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and works with his team at the Ludwig Bölkow Campus in Ottobrunn (southeast of Munich, Germany), which is considered to be the epicenter of the green revolution. It is here, at this worldwide one of a kind test center, where two independently sufficient labs simulate varying climates to discover which places around the world the specific algae types will grow best. The most commonly used types of algae are microalgae, which can adapt to extreme climate and ecological conditions, for example, in the hyper saline lakes in Australia.
The algae is cultivated with the aid of carbon dioxide and special LED lighting. After harvesting, the oil from the algae will be extracted using a thermo-chemical process to produce the Algae Aircraft Fuel.
The final product has the chemical properties of crude oil-based jet fuel and can, therefore, be used to power an aircraft.
Professor Brück believes that "with the use of Algae Aircraft Fuel the current CO2-Emissions in the aviation industry could be reduced by 30-40%."
The research team and Professor Brück estimate large scale trials to begin within the next 6-10 years. However, the research is progressing much faster than expected and the first test flights have already been successfully conducted using Algae Aircraft Fuel.
WELTREISE-TRAUM supports the endeavor to reduce air travel related CO2 emissions and wholeheartedly believes "Algae Aircraft Fuel" has great potential.
"If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it."
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)