Continuing on a quest to lay the foundation for environmentally-friendly supersonic travel, Aerion Supersonic has signed a memorandum of understanding with direct air capture specialist Carbon Engineering to explore the possible use of synthetic fuel in its AS2 Mach 1.4 business jet. Founded in 2009, Squamish, British Columbia-based Carbon Engineering produces fuels from carbon dioxide captured through the atmosphere, water, and clean electricity.
Aerion chairman, president, and CEO Tom Vice said at the AIAA Aviation Forum in June that Aerion was focused on direct-air-capture methods because this approach enables factories to have smaller footprints and to be built and accessible anywhere. “The technology really is huge,” he said.
Aerion and Carbon Engineering will jointly evaluate requirements to ensure that the GE Aviation Affinity engine, which will power the AS2, can run entirely on synthetic fuel. In addition, the partners will consider collaborating on an air-to-fuels plant to produce synthetic fuel specifically for the AS2, Aerion added.
“The fundamental value of fuels made from atmospheric CO2 is that they create a circular system of emissions,” said Carbon Engineering CEO Steve Oldham. “Our DAC technology captures yesterday’s emitted CO2 and converts it into fuel.”
Vehicles then return CO2 into the atmosphere and that CO2 is recaptured to make more fuel. “We continually reuse existing CO2, and little or no new carbon emissions are created,” Oldham said. “This provides a way to decarbonize sectors of transportation that are difficult to electrify and that require the high energy density of liquid fuels, such as aviation or shipping.”
The companies believe that the partnership will forward their common goal toward building a clean-energy transportation network.
“At Aerion we take environmental stewardship very seriously, and we believe that speed and being kind to our planet cannot be mutually exclusive,” Vice said. “As we build the next generation of high-speed transportation networks, we recognize the need to create a broad ecosystem of innovative partnerships to achieve our vision of carbon-neutral point-to-point global travel.”