US Air Force and Twelve partner on carbon transformation technology

October 25, 2021 (Last Updated October 25th, 2021 12:21)

The technology will enable the USAF to access fuel at anytime and anywhere.

US Air Force and Twelve partner on carbon transformation technology
A US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 350th Expeditionary Aircraft Refueling Squadron, flies over Qatar. Credit: USAF / Master Sgt Joey Swafford.

The US Air Force (USAF) has partnered with carbon transformation company Twelve to convert carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the air into jet fuel.

The technology will enable the service to access fuel at any time and anywhere.

Last year, Air Force Operational Energy authorised Twelve to launch a pilot programme.

This programme is aimed at showcasing the company’s proprietary technology that could convert CO₂ into lower-cost aviation fuel, known as ‘E-Jet’.

In August this year, the project reached a major milestone after Twelve successfully produced jet fuel from CO₂.

The first phase of the project is scheduled to complete this December. This phase comprises detailing the process and findings via a report.

The next phase will be using this technology for synthetic fuel production in huge quantities.

US Air Force operational energy deputy assistant secretary Roberto Guerrero said: “History has taught us that our logistics supply chains are one of the first things the enemy attacks.

“As peer-adversaries pose more and more of a threat, what we do to reduce our fuel and logistics demand will be critical to avoid risk and win any potential war.”

Initial testing of the technology proves that the system is ‘highly deployable and scalable’. It allows troops to access synthetic fuel from anywhere across the globe.

The carbon transformation company’s platform could enable deployed units to create fuel on demand without any need for ‘highly skilled’ on-site fuel experts.

The USAF sees the opportunity for the technology to provide a supplemental source to petroleum-based fuels to decrease demand in areas that are typically difficult to deliver fuel to.

Twelve co-founder and CEO Nicholas Flanders said: “With carbon transformation, we are untethering aviation from petroleum supply chains.

“The airforce has been a strong partner in our work to advance innovative new sources of aviation fuel.”