SUN-to-LIQUID II: Efficient solar thermochemical synthesis of liquid hydrocarbon fuels using tailored porous-structured materials and heat recuperation

The European Green Deal aims at a 90% reduction in transport emissions to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The main leverage of road, rail, aviation, and waterborne transport is increasing the share of renewable fuels. SUN-to-LIQUID II addresses this last challenge with an integrated solar-thermochemical pathway that has the potential to produce sustainable and cost-effective fuels at the scale of future demand directly from sunlight, water and CO2.

The primary objective is to achieve a record-high energy conversion of 15% at the solar reactor- a 3-fold increase of the state of the art – by bringing novel concepts (TRL 2) and lab-scale developments (TRL 3) to the field (TRL 4-5). To this end, the aims are the optimization of a high-flux solar concentrating heliostat & tower system, the development and integration of novel 3D structured reactants and implementation of high-temperature heat recovery within the solar-thermochemical system. Detailed scale-up and constraint analyses and a commercial exploitation of the solar-thermochemical fuel technology strategy complement the key objectives for the way forward.

Through a 48-months 5.7-MEuros valued action, SUN-to-LIQUID II will demonstrate on-sun the viability of the integrated solar fuel pathway on a 50-kW scale, and will create a conceptual design of a next-generation commercial multi-megawatt-scale solar plant. Gathering three research organisations, two industry partners and one SME from five European countries, the highly complementary consortium builds on its unique expertise and unique state-of-the-art research facilities. IMDEA Energía, contributes with the improvement of the solar concentrator and the plant operation at the IMDEA Technology Park in Móstoles, Spain. Furthermore, IMDEA Energía tests and implements novel 3D-printed structured redox materials

As a result, five expected outcomes of HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03-07 are achieved with research, development and demonstration of the SUN-to-LIQUID II technology, and with the system analyses providing the evidence for a pathway towards cost-effective and deep GHG emission reduction especially for aviation, with technical scalability to production potentials beyond projected future demand.

Project Webpage:

Partners: Bauhaus Luftfahrt EV (Coordinator)(Germany); Fundación IMDEA Energía (Spain); Deutsches Zentrum Fur Luft – Und Raumfahrt EV (Germany); Hygear BV (Netherlands); L – UP SAS (France) and Synhelion (Switzerland).

Funding Institution/Program: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme under Grant agreement Nº 101122206 and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI)

Call: HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03

Type of action: HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions

Period: 01/11/2023 – 31/10/2027

IMDEA Energy Institute external funding: 1,396,797.50 €

Principal Investigator: Manuel Romero