South African flight using Sasol coal to liquid synthetic fuel

Sasol notches up a jet-fuel first

22.9.2010 (South African Mail & Guardian)

Sasol took to the skies on Tuesday with the world’s first jet flight using fully
synthetic fuel, the company said in a statement.

It said a passenger aircraft using its own-developed and internationally approved
fuel made the flight from Lanseria airport in Gauteng to Cape Town.

The fuel, produced by Sasol’s proprietary coal to liquids (CTL) process, was
the world’s only fully synthetic jet fuel to have received international approval
as a commercial aviation turbine fuel.

The emissions from the fuel were lower than those from jet fuel derived from
crude oil, due to its low sulphur content.

“This marks a significant development in the adoption of clean burning alternate
fuels for the aviation industry,” Sasol said.



Liquid fuels from coal produce a huge amount of carbon dioxide in their production,
making them very carbon intensive indeed – with far greater carbon emissions per
unit than normal liquid fossil fuels like oil. So coal to liquids (CTL) fuels
are most definitely NOT the way forward.


see also

a briefing by the Amercian NRDC (Natural Resources Defence Council) entitled

Why Liquid Coal Is Not a Viable Option to Move America Beyond Oil   at

which states that:

Relying on liquid coal as an alternative fuel could:     nearly double global warming
pollution per gallon of transportation fuels, and   increase the devastating effects
of coal mining felt by communities and ecosystems.


Even If the CO2 Is Captured, Liquid Coal Still Pollutes More Than Current System

If the CO2 from liquid coal plants is captured instead of being released into
the atmosphere, then well-to-wheels CO2 emissions would be reduced some but would
still be higher than emissions from today’s crude oil system.   Even capturing
90% of the emissions from liquid coal plants leaves emissions at levels somewhat
higher than those from petroleum production and refining; emissions from the vehicle
using the coal-derived liquid fuels are equivalent to those from a gasoline vehicle.  
As a result, with CO2 capture well-to-wheels emissions from coal-derived liquids
fuels would be 8% higher than for petroleum.   Since policies to cut CO2 emissions

inevitable, proceeding with liquid coal plants now would leave investments stranded
or impose unnecessarily high abatement costs on the economy.


see also

Sasol decelerates CTL project pending carbon capture, refinery clarity

13.9.2010 (Mining Weekly)

Energy and chemicals group Sasol reported on Monday that it had taken its foot
off the accelerator at Project Mafutha, a proposed 80 000-bl/d coal-to-liquids
(CTL) project in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

The company, which is led by CEO Pat Davies, said that the project would not “progress into the feasibility phase within
the originally envisaged timeline”, pending clarity on “the large-scale coal gasification
tests and the provision of a commercially viable carbon capture and storage (CCS)

Davies stressed, though, that he still felt that the project would be good for
both Sasol and the country, provided the group could find a storage solution for
the CO2 and provided it was aligned to South Africa’s fiscal priorities and climate

…………. and it continues …………..

link to article