What is the key technology idea of Sun-to-Liquid and why do you believe in its future potential?
Nathalie: As part of the energy transition, the transport sector has an urgent need for alternative liquid fuels. The key idea of Sun-to-Liquid is the use of concentrated solar energy to produce green fuels, which can replace fossil fuels. The Sun-to-Liquid technology significantly reduces CO2 emissions compared to state-of-the-art technologies by using solar energy. The potential of these ideas and of the Sun-to-Liquid technology is huge.
Stefan: Sun-to-Liquid uses a thermochemical cycle to convert sunlight, water and CO2 into renewable kerosene. Some of the system’s components have been developed all new, others have been adapted to meet the requirements of the process. Especially the solar concentrator and the receiver-reactor with its reactive structures have made significant progress within the project.
The theoretical efficiency potential and the scale-up perspectives of this technology are very promising. Nevertheless, there are challenges to overcome to make this technology economically attractive - but many ideas and approaches are currently being discussed and explored within the community that could offer solutions.
Finally: what do you personally believe to be the most promising trends in cleantech development at the moment, besides solar kerosene?
Nathalie: I personally believe very much in the hydrogen economy, especially with green hydrogen of course, which can be produced with renewable energy, like solar or wind. Hydrogen can be used for transport applications as well as a base material for industrial processes. Hydrogen can also be used to store and transport renewable energy and use it to our liking: for the generation of electricity and heat, but also for the production of chemicals and future fuels.
Stefan: I personally also think that green hydrogen will play a major role in the decarbonization of many sectors – its challenges seem manageable and the chances coming with it are enormous.