Published on December 15, 2021

Within the project ProQR – Alternative Fuels without Climate Impacts, the collaboration with Academia has been an important element on the way to enable the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), using Renewable Energies, in Brazil. An important step in this journey was made on December 1st, 2021, when the Workshop “Teaching on Alternative Fuels for Aviation in Brazil” took place, promoted by ProQR together with the partners of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The virtual event aimed to present to the Brazilian Academia a preview of the teaching material “Alternative Fuels for Aviation in Brazil”. The material was developed by ProQR in collaboration with the DLR and reviewed by leading Brazilian technicians and academics. During the event, the participants were able to get to know the new didactic resource and discuss opportunities for its application.

Promoting education and research on Sustainable Aviation Fuels is fundamental to enable the decarbonisation of Brazilian aviation. As one of its main goals, ProQR promotes the dissemination of technical knowledge on this innovative theme, in order to boost the qualification of professionals for the job market. The didactic material “Alternative Fuels for Aviation in Brazil” is an important milestone towards this mission, as it covers not only chemical processes of SAF production, but also aspects of the Brazilian energy context. This approach allows the topic of Alternative Fuels to be presented in an integrated and interdisciplinary way.  

None of this would be possible without the work of the authors of the didactic material, who presented the modules throughout the Workshop: Jürgen Kern (DLR-VE, senior researcher and project manager), Andreas Meurer (DLR-VE, PhD student), Ying Deng (DLR-VE, PhD student), Bruna Wanke (DLR-VE, student), Bastian Rauch (DLR-VT, senior researcher and project manager) and Günter Schneider (Enolcon, director). In order to achieve a good adequacy and acceptance of the material within the Brazilian context, ProQR and DLR also relied on the fundamental support of reviewers from the following Brazilian institutions: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ: Institute of Chemistry and COPPE), Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), SENAI Institute for Renewable Energy Innovation (ISI-ER), National Agency of Electric Energy (ANEEL), HYTRON, National Agency of Oil and Gas (ANP) and the Energy Research Company (EPE).

Overview of the modules

The didactic material “Alternative Fuels for Aviation in Brazil” consists of 12 modules, in English language, that discuss the production chain of alternative aviation fuels and address the potential for insertion of this technology in the Brazilian energy scenario. The material was designed as a tool to support the study, teaching and research on the subject in academic institutions in Brazil and, therefore, seeks to present the covered aspects in a detailed and didactic manner.

Module 00 – Introduction and Global Context

This introductory section of the material presents an overview of the global discussions on climate change and the impacts of aviation on the release of greenhouse gases. This scenario was responsible for the search for sustainable alternatives capable of reducing carbon emissions in aviation. Facing this problem, ProQR stands out within the scope of German-Brazilian cooperation for its innovative technological approach.

Module 01 – Brazilian Infrastructure & Future Energy Strategies

In order to provide an overview of the current Brazilian infrastructure throughout its territory, this module addresses the main transportation fuel matrices, the transportation networks and their utilization, as well as the electric power availability. In addition, the Brazilian governmental plans for the development of the transport sector and the energy sector are analysed.

Module 02 – Renewable Energy Potential

This module discusses the global perspective of renewable energy, the need for its use and the feasibility of different matrices. It also presents the Brazilian potential, which is extremely promising.

Module 03 – Feedstock

This module aims to present the main sources of obtaining the feedstock necessary for the production of SAF available in Brazil. The ProQR project proposes the use of the Power-to-Liquid (PtL) method for the production of alternative aviation fuels. This process, which uses renewable energy, hydrogen and carbon dioxide for the chemical synthesis of the fuel, receives special focus.

Module 04 – Hydrogen and Syngas Production

Syngas, obtained by combining carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2), is the product that will be converted to hydrocarbons for sustainable fuel production. Module 04 seeks to analyse its production process, as well as the recent global prominence of hydrogen in the quest for decarbonisation. It also presents electrolysis based on renewable electrical energy as the best alternative for obtaining H2.

Module 05 – Synthesis

This module discusses the Fischer-Tropsch process, responsible for the conversion of Syngas to hydrocarbons. The chemical steps of the process and the technologies used are presented, in order to explore the different routes available for the production of synthetic fuels.

Module 06 – Post Processing

Just as in the fossil fuel route crude oil can be refined into different products, the Syncrude resulting from the Fischer-Tropsch process has a similar potential. Therefore, the post-processing stage aims to refine Syncrude so that it can be converted into aviation fuel.

Module 07 – Certification

To be used, aviation fuels must be certified. This module explains how the fuel certification process works. In addition, quality guidelines for the Fischer-Tropsch process are presented, as well as the guidelines required by the Brazilian regulatory agencies.

Module 08 – EPC – Engineering, Procurement and Construction

This module aims to discuss the construction of PtL SAF production plants. As well as presenting strategies for contracting technical EPC companies, the module explores the possibilities for plant design. ProQR advocates the construction of modular and decentralised plants, which can be built close to airports.

Module 09 – Operation & Maintenance (O&M), End of Life

After the construction of a PtL SAF production plant, there are several processes required for its operation and maintenance. In addition, it is essential to plan the end-of-life processes of the plant and how it will be decommissioned, always aiming for sustainability and minimum damage to the environment. In this section of the didactic material, strategies for these processes are presented.

Module 10 – Products

In this module, aspects of aviation fuels are analysed in depth. Some of the points covered are the policies surrounding the fuels, their operation in aircraft, the climate impacts of conventional fuels and the changes caused by the adoption of sustainable fuels.

Module 11 – Energy Planning

In order to prepare for the future, energy planning is a key strategy. In this last module of the didactic material, the most commonly used energy planning models are presented. In addition, the two Brazilian energy planning models are analysed: the National Energy Plan and the Ten Year Energy Expansion Plan.

Together with the presentation slides in PowerPoint format, notes are provided to support the facilitation of the content, as well as suggested questions and answers and the appropriate bibliographic references. The material is offered for academic and non-commercial use and can be modified and shared as needed by the lecturer, provided that the ProQR Project is mentioned as the primary reference for this resource. In order to gain insight into the application and impact of the resource, institutions working with the material should report on its use to the ProQR Project.

Presential training with the authors in 2022 for the launching of the complete teaching resource

The full material is expected to be released in March 2022 as part of a face-to-face training with the DLR team of colleagues. The event is planned to take place during the week of 14-18 March 2022 in Rio de Janeiro. Registration begins in January. Expressions of interest can be sent to proqr@giz.de.

A selection of slides of the material that was presented at the Workshop on December 1st is available for request through this form.

Ruth Barbosa contributed to this article.

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