World’s first fully featured synthetic fuel facility

synthetic fuel

The world’s first fully-featured synthetic fuel plant – Plant Zero.1 – is to open in UK in June, the brainchild of a former F1 star.

Plant Zero.1, co-founded by ex-Formula One engineering guru Paddy Lowe, will manufacture engineering-grade fuels from Q3 2023 to be used for market evaluations and approvals including ASTM certifications for flight and other applications, to be achieved in early 2024.

The new plant will lead the way to providing the technical and commercial blueprint for global deployment of synthetic fuels at scale.

On Tuesday 25th April 2023 the EU agreed to take forward the ReFuelEU mandate for synthetic fuels in aviation starting at 1.2 per cent in 2030 and increasing to 35 per cent by 2050. The scale of the mandate is significant and comes on the back of the recent concession to continuing manufacture of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles after 2035 provided they are also powered by synthetic fuels (e-fuels).

As a result, Zero has now committed to accelerate its growth to mass production with plans for the company’s first international production plant (“Plant Zero.2”) that will manufacture 100 per cent drop-in grade synthetic fuels at a commercial scale as soon as 2025. This will be a fundamental component of the Energy Transition to meet global commitments to eliminate fossil-carbon emissions. 

“Our engineering-scale Plant Zero.1 will be the first fully-featured synthetic fuel plant in the world (air, water and renewable electricity to 100 per cent drop-in grade fuel, all in one building),” Zero co-founder CEO, Paddy Lowe ,said. “This has been made possible by fantastic support from a range of investors and partners, most particularly the UK’s Royal Air Force”.

Zero is one of the few companies globally to successfully create all three types of carbon-neutral fuel (gasoline, diesel and jet fuel) and holds the Guinness World Records title for the first aircraft powered by synthetic fuel.

Zero co-founder and CScO, Nilay Shah said: “There is an urgent need to develop and deliver synthetic fuels to facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels in the very wide range of transport applications which cannot directly use renewable electricity. We are setting ourselves the target of multi-market commercial-scale fuel production as soon as 2025 and expecting to achieve cost parity with current fossil-fuel pricing within a decade.”

The technical and operational development coming from Plant Zero.1 has given Zero the confidence to already commit to the next phase of production scale-up – the commercial-scale Plant Zero.2. The construction and deployment of Plant Zero.2, as early as 2025, will accelerate the deployment of synthetic fuels to both commercial and consumer markets across a wide range of transport applications making the elimination of fossil-fuels a realistic option.

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