US-based supersonic aircraft manufacturer, Aerion, has teamed up with Carbon Engineering – a Direct Air Capture (DAC) specialist – to develop solutions that will lead to carbon-neutral supersonic air travel.
In early July, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to investigate how Carbon Engineering’s synthetic fuel can be used to power Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet. Using a DAC process, carbon dioxide (CO2) will be extracted from the atmosphere, clean electricity and water, on the ground before being used as a propellant source for the aircraft.
Carbon Engineering’s CEO, Steve Oldham, said: “The fundamental value of fuels made from atmospheric CO2 is that they create a circular system of emission. When used in any vehicle, the carbon is returned to the atmosphere as CO2, however, the process then captures it again to make more fuel. So, we continually re-use existing CO2, and little or no new carbon emissions are created.”
Aerion aims to make history with the AS2. In a statement, the company said: “By partnering, the two technology innovators in mobility and sustainable energy believe they can take a significant step forward in achieving their common goal of building the clean-energy transportation networks of the future, while helping to address the climate and energy challenge.”
Tom Vice, chairman, president and CEO of Aerion, added: “As we build the next generation of high-speed transportation networks, we [recognise] the need to create a broad ecosystem of innovative partnerships to achieve our vision of carbon-neutral point-to-point global travel.”
As part of the agreement, Aerion and Carbon Engineering will together assess the requirements of powering the AS2’s GE Aviation Affinity non-afterburning turbofan engine using synthetic fuel. The two firms will also explore a further collaborative project to build an “AIR TO FUELS” facility that will produce synthetic fuel specifically for use by the AS2 programme.