Synhelion Unveils World’s First Industrial-Scale Solar Fuel Plant in Germany

Swiss company has announced the inauguration of DAWN, the world's first industrial-scale plant designed to produce synthetic fuels using heat.

Situated in Juelich, , within North Rhine-Westphalia, the facility features a 20-meter solar tower and a field of mirrors. DAWN is expected to start operations later this year, with an annual production capacity of several thousand liters of fuel.

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The facility will manufacture synthetic crude oil, or syncrude, on-site. This syncrude will then be refined into certified fuels at a conventional oil refinery. The produced solar fuels, which include solar kerosene for aviation and solar gasoline and diesel for road and maritime transport, are fully compatible with the current global fuel .

According to Synhelion, this project marks the first instance of a plant showcasing the complete technology chain from concentrated sunlight to synthetic liquid fuel on an industrial scale. The company believes this renewable fuel will play a vital role in reducing the reliance on fossil fuels in the transportation sector, particularly in aviation.

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Founded in 2016 as a spin-off from ETH Zurich, Synhelion plans to begin constructing its first commercial plant in next year. This facility is projected to produce around 1,000 tonnes of fuel annually. Over the next decade, Synhelion aims to scale its annual production to approximately one million tonnes of solar fuel.

Heike Birlenbach, Chief Commercial Officer of Swiss International Air Lines, commented, “As strategic partners of Synhelion, Lufthansa Group and SWISS as investors are proud to support the market introduction of solar fuels and congratulate Synhelion on this extraordinary achievement.”

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