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Sasol partners with Denmark’s Topsoe to produce sustainable aviation fuels

Sasol partners with Denmark’s Topsoe to produce sustainable aviation fuels
(Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Petrochemicals giant Sasol has established a joint venture with Danish company Topsoe, a global leader in carbon reduction technologies, to produce ‘sustainable aviation fuels’ – green jet fuel, essentially. It is the latest decarbonisation initiative from Sasol, Africa’s biggest private sector emitter of the greenhouse gases linked to climate change.

The companies said in a statement that the purpose of the joint venture “is to develop, build, own and operate sustainable aviation fuel plants, and market sustainable aviation fuels”.

Such fuels will be primarily produced from non-fossil feedstock that uses green hydrogen, sustainable CO2 sources and biomass. The process will be driven by a fusion of Sasol and Topsoe technologies.  

Sasol is Africa’s biggest private sector emitter of the greenhouse gases linked to climate change, and is under intense investor and public pressure to clean up its act. It has a decarbonisation target of net zero emissions by 2050 and this is the latest initiative to achieve that aim.

“We need to keep the world open by creating more sustainable ways of flying, and our shared commitment to accelerating sustainable aviation fuels is a vital part of this,” Roeland Baan, CEO at Topsoe, was quoted as saying. 

“We believe no one is better placed than the company formed by Sasol and Topsoe to deliver the means to scale SAF [biofuel] production.” 

The aviation sector accounts for 2% to 3% of the global carbon emissions linked to climate change.

Sasol has been pursuing green hydrogen strategies on other fronts as well. 

Last year, Sasol and ArcelorMittal South Africa announced a partnership to develop carbon capture technology to produce sustainable fuels and chemicals, and “green steel” with green hydrogen and its derivatives. 

Read more here: Major renewables project for Sasol – BusinessTech

It’s all a far cry from just three years ago when oil prices collapsed into negative territory in the face of the economic meltdown triggered by the pandemic, casting Sasol’s viability as a growing concern into doubt.

Having weathered that storm, Sasol is now charting a course for a cleaner future and one that will rely far less on the fossil fuels that the company was built on.

And Sasol, whether you like it or loathe it, is pretty good at science, and research and development. From a polluter of note, cleaner, greener fuels look likely to gush forth. DM

To read all about Daily Maverick’s recent The Gathering: Earth Edition, click here.

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