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Energy system modelling challenges for synthetic fuels: Towards net zero systems with synthetic jet fuels

Kim, S; Dodds, PE; Butnar, I; (2021) Energy system modelling challenges for synthetic fuels: Towards net zero systems with synthetic jet fuels. Johnson Matthey Technology Review , 65 (2) pp. 263-274. 10.1595/205651321x16043240667033. Green open access

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Abstract

Long-distance air travel requires fuel with a high specific energy and a high energy density. There are no viable alternatives to carbon-based fuels. Synthetic jet fuel from the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process, employing sustainable feedstocks, is a potential low-carbon alternative. A number of synthetic fuel production routes have been developed, using a range of feedstocks including biomass, waste, hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide. We review three energy system models and find that many of these production routes are not represented. We examine the market share of synthetic fuels in each model in a scenario in which the Paris Agreement target is achieved. In 2050, it is cheaper to use conventional jet fuel coupled with a negative emissions technology than to produce sustainable synthetic fuels in the TIAM-UCL and UK TIMES models. However, the JRC-EU-TIMES model, which represents the most production routes, finds a substantial role for synthetic jet fuels, partly because underground CO2 storage is assumed limited. These scenarios demonstrate a strong link between synthetic fuels, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and negative emissions. Future model improvements include better representing blending limits for synthetic jet fuels to meet international fuel standards, reducing the costs of synthetic fuels and ensuring production routes are sustainable.

Type: Article
Title: Energy system modelling challenges for synthetic fuels: Towards net zero systems with synthetic jet fuels
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1595/205651321x16043240667033
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1595/205651321X16049404388783
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128640
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