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Fischer-Tropsch technology can produce SAF from municipal waste

26th May 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Air bp, the aviation fuels business of UK-based global energy giant bp, has highlighted the potential role of Fischer-Tropsch technology in the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

South African energy and petrochemicals group Sasol is a world leader in Fischer-Tropsch technology.

One of the ways in which Fischer-Tropsch can produce SAF is by using municipal solid waste (MSW) as feedstock, Air bp noted. Fuel standards body ASTM has an approved pathway for the production of SAF from MSW using Fischer-Tropsch technology.

“For SAF produced from MSW using Fischer-Tropsch technology the main environmental gain is derived from the fact that the waste would otherwise be left to decompose in landfill sites,” observed Air bp. “According to the World Bank, the world generates more than 2-billion tonnes of MSW annually; a figure that’s expected to grow to 3.4-billion tonnes by 2050.”

So, feedstock is both very and widely available. It is also usually cheaper than other SAF feedstocks. However, this makes MSW attractive to many other industries, including the energy industry itself, seeking to produce and use sustainable fuels. Consequently, the aviation sector might, in some regions, find itself in competition with these sectors for access to MSW as a fuel feedstock.

“In the EU (European Union) bp is – among other feedstock and technology pathways – advocating for recycled carbon fuels made from the non-organic portion of MSW to be recognised as SAF under the EU’s planned SAF blending mandate,” affirmed the company. “We are not however advocating for the use of recycled plastics as a standalone feedstock source for SAF.”

The creation of Fischer-Tropsch infrastructure is capital-intensive, Air bp noted.

South Africa already possesses very large-scale Fischer-Tropsch infrastructure.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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