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Exosonic, Twelve to Develop Renewable Supersonic Jet Fuel 

Supersonic transport company Exosonic, Inc. has announced a partnership with carbon transformation company Twelve to develop sustainable synthetic aviation fuel for its supersonic jet engines.

The US Air Force (USAF) awarded Exosonic a low boom supersonic drone demonstrator contract last month. CEO Norris Tie revealed that the drone development process would allow the company also to design and manufacture muted boom supersonic aircraft.

Meanwhile, Twelve also reached a milestone in August, achieving jet fuel production from CO2 using proprietary technology under a USAF pilot program, paving the way for increased fuel production. 

Synthetic Jet Fuel Technology

The technology uses recycled CO2 captured from air — with water and renewable power as inputs — to transform the CO2 into syngas, or synthetic fuel. The syngas is now chiefly produced through a mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

The air force’s initial assessment is that the technology is “highly deployable and scalable,” “enabling the warfighter to access synthetic fuel from anywhere in the world.”

A US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 350th Expeditionary Aircraft Refueling Squadron, flies over Qatar, Feb. 13, 2021. Image: Master Sgt. Joey Swafford/US Air Force

Potential Benefits

Moreover, the fuel generation system doesn’t require on-field “experts” to operate, potentially untethering the US military from the petroleum supply chain.

It also has the potential to save US lives lost when transporting fuel to warfighters stationed around the world, such as the many troop casualties due to fuel convoy attacks at the height of the Afghan war.

“The Air Force sees the opportunity for the technology to provide a supplemental source to petroleum-based fuels to decrease demand in areas that are typically difficult to deliver fuel to,” the service stated.

Carbon-Neutral Aviation

“The aviation industry needs to move towards more sustainable solutions,” Exosonic CEO Tie said, adding that the company “looks forward to working with Twelve to include their fuel in our quiet supersonic airliner and across all of our supersonic [unmanned aerial vehicle] product lines. Exosonic must be sustainable from Day 1, and our partnership is a great start to that vision.”

Twelve co-founder and CEO Nicholas Flanders added, “Creating a drop-in ready jet fuel from CO2 enables aviation that can ultimately become carbon neutral. Partnering with Exosonic will enable long distance, supersonic aviation while minimizing emissions.”

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