Stuttgart Airport is to take part in a state of Baden-Württemberg-backed investigation into sustainable aviation fuel.

The study will examine how climate-friendly synthetic kerosene can be produced from green hydrogen and process-related carbon dioxide (CO2) from the cement productionIt is expected to form a basis for further development which will lead ultimately to the development of a production plant and possible funding from investors.

Winfried Hermann, Baden-Württemberg Minister of Transport, said: "The aviation industry must make its contribution to climate protection. Renewably produced synthetic fuels, so-called reFuels, will play a central role in this.

“This project is exceptional pioneering work. It comprises the preliminary preparation of a plant with a production capacity of 50,000 metric tons of synthetic aviation fuel per year at the Heidenheim-Mergelstetten site. The first jet fuel produced in this way on an industrial scale could be realised there in 2028.” The project consortium, which includes Stuttgart Airport, Schwenk Zement and SkyNRG, is contributing €1m to the project, as is the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Minister Hermann emphasised: "In order to meet the blending quota of just 2% renewable kerosene in Germany in 2030, almost 250,000 metric tons would have to be produced per year. We therefore need to develop some significantly larger industrial plants. This shows what a challenge it is to reach carbon-neutral air traffic by 2040."

The study aims to demonstrate the economic and technical feasibility as well as the potential approvability of the plant. If it is successful, there will be potential to produce climate-friendly kerosene on an industrial scale in this way.

“With the right technological setup, there are great synergies possible between the cement industry and the aviation industry. Both need solutions to ensure they contribute to climate protection and the energy transition,” said Maarten van Dijk, chief development officer of SAF specialist SkyNRG. He sees Baden-Württemberg as an interesting region for the development of such an aviation fuel facility. “There is political support on both the state and federal level while the region offers strong partnerships with Stuttgart Airport and Schwenk Zement to develop this type of highly innovative project.”