The FFA Mission
Energy security and ambitious carbon reduction targets drive demand for drop in, carbon-neutral and sustainable fuels. This demand is particularly strong in our initial niche markets, especially motorsports.
FFAfuels using renewable energy, provide an appropriate response to carbon-induced climate change and mitigate the effects of the energy descent from the fossil oil era. As fossil fuels suffer supply constraints, declining availability, and rise rapidly in cost, opportunities for FFA will increase.
Relationships with partners across the sustainable energy supply chain will help to develop markets with particularly strong initial opportunity.
Fuels From Air recognises that:
- Demand for carbon-emissions-reducing transport technologies will grow as climate change demands and legislation put pressure on existing systems. New technologies must prove themselves in today’s markets before they will be adopted widely.
- Conventional oil supplies are depleting rapidly with global ‘Peak Oil’ having already occurred.
- Unconventional oil from shale, tar sands, gas-to-liquids, coal-to-liquids and biomass-to-liquids will not be sufficient to meet the shortfall in transport fuels. Peak coal and peak gas are not far behind peak oil and will eventually be rejected for huge water needs , earthquakes, Methane leaks, and ground water contamination.
- Biofuels will not be available in sufficient quantities to meet the shortfall in transport fuels – The UK in particular cannot grow enough biofuels for its need.
- Electric and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles will have a role in the low-carbon future but the range of these vehicles will be too short for aviation, long-distance road freight and international shipping, although battery technology is advancing very fast.
- The shift to hydrogen technologies will take a long time; requiring major changes to energy supply infrastructures and will be very expensive..
- The release of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels is causing dangerous climate change. The release of carbon dioxide must therefore be drastically reduced. The conversion of coal to liquid fuels is particularly disadvantageous because of conversion inefficiencies and the high carbon content of coal. Approximately 3 molecules of carbon dioxide are produced for every atom of carbon contained in the fuel produced.
- Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is expensive and energy intensive; the risk of carbon dioxide release from CCS is considerable; locations for permanent storage of carbon dioxide would quickly become too full to use and carbon capture and use (CCU) makes better economic sense.
- Many remote locations in the world have large-scale, affordable renewable energy resources but connection of renewable energy generation to the electricity grid is uneconomic. These locations can benefit from FFA plants manufacturing sustainable liquid fuels. In the UK, the wind power resource will be particularly suitable for FFA
Fuel From Air’s business plan for creating commercially viable, sustainable fuels
FFA has a robust business plan, drawing on the deep practical industry experience of its management team. The plan includes early cashflow returns by focusing on high-spec motorsports fuels and point sources of CO2 . In this niche initial market we can provide fuels and blends at prices competitive with fossil fuels but with the massive benefits of carbon- neutrality, secure, consistent quality and price-predicatablity. This niche market facilitates staged development of the business with the opportunity to scale up and accelerate as governments and corporations realise that practical alternatives for fossil fuels are required urgently.
Fuels From Air strategic objectives
The FFA business plan is built around:
- Developing cashflow as early as possible – via niche markets and, in particular, small-scale commercial plants producing carbon-neutral fuel for specialist motorsports applications.
- Facilitating integrated renewable energy projects with partners at a variety of scales, ultimately up to and including refinery scale (1,000+ tonnes of fuel a day).
- Licensing renewable fuel technology, providing operations and maintenance services, and systems to optimise the use of renewable energies.
- Ultimately establishing high volume manufacturing supply chains for hydrogen electrolysis, CO2 release electrolysis, renewable energy technology, and fuel conversion technologies.
- Delivering these objectives using the best financial models available to monitor progress and attract investment to further develop our sustainable fuel capabilities.
- Developing containerised commercially viable fuel production plants to deliver carbon-neutral fuels which can meet demand, especially in motorsports markets.
- Developing partnerships with a range of organizations to generate new renewable products into existing and new markets.
- Developing new sustainable technologies leading to new commercial products.
While the position on incentives for renewable energy is unclear, all the evidence is that oil prices will continue the overall rising trend they have experienced since global Peak Oil was reached in the mid 2000s, that energy markets will suffer further supply constraints and price shocks and that the relative cost of renewable electricity production will fall. Niche markets provide clear initial opportunities for the development of initial commercial FFA plants producing low/zero carbon “electrofuels” for specialist applications.
Motor Sport Applications
Carbon-neutral liquid fuels for motorsport
FFA technology renewable fuels are particularly appropriate for motorsport applications because they are:
- Highly competitive against existing specialist motorsport fossil-fuels, especially as carbon-reducing blends for fossil fuels.
- Designer fuels to a given spec for peak performance
- Carbon-neutral (with attendant significant PR benefits)
- “Drop-in” replacements for all existing fossil-oil based fuel types and specifications.
- Carbon-capture products that require only a supply of renewable electricity.
- Producable on site – eg dedicated facilities at motor-racing circuits – or off-site and easily transportable using existing infrastructure.
Motor sport opportunities
Fuels From Air can produce carbon-neutral regular octane petrol with very low (or even zero) levels of sulphur and benzine. This is an excellent blending component for meeting particular fuel specifications, environmental regulations, achieving carbon reduction targets and creating very positive PR around motorsports activities.
There is very strong evidence that a carbon-neutral fuel (or fuel component) will be able to access significantly enhanced sales prices, in the order of £4 – £6 per litre. Subject to detail designs and estimates, this will generate healthy commercial rates of return for owners/operators of even initial 1,200-litre (1-tonne) per day production plants – who need not necessarily themselves be directly involved in the motorsports industry.
Outline designs for a 1-tonne a day containerised production plant are available and first units could be in place and producing within 18 months of funding. A 1-tonne a day plant requires 3MW renewable electricity. Both wind turbines and FFA fuel plant could easily be located within the boundaries of a typical motor racing circuit or off-site.
Use of a concentrated point source of CO2 reduces both capital and energy requirements, but FFA has also developed and proven CO2 air-capture technology which can be built into any size or scale of production plant if required.
Start reducing the transport carbon footprint with an eco-friendly alternative
Synthetic carbon-neutral fuels can be made “to spec” – no need to remove impurities by refining crude fossil oil into specific fuel types. Any fuel or crude-oil based
material can ultimately also be made from synthetic hydrocarbons produced by the AFS process. This includes methanol, gasoline, diesel, lubricants and waxes as well as plastics and building materials, some of which have other substitutes, but few as useful and versatile as a hydrocarbon base. The first commercial AFS plants will produce high-spec designer fuels for blending into motorsport applications where demand for carbon-reduction and quality is particularly strong.
The advantages of a synthetic fuel compared to other alternative fuel options
Synthetic fuels can be manufactured from biomass, – or better still by the FFA fuels process. Sustainability questions attend biomass options. The next two, gas and coal, although proven, are still fossil-fuel based.
FFA sustainable liquid fuels are are carbon-neutral and do not take up land otherwise potentially used for food or preserving biodiversity. Alternative fuels cannot be left undeveloped until the time comes that fossil fuels become prohibitively expensive due to scarcity. We are developing fuels as commercially viable alternatives now, and most importantly, sustainable fuels for the future of our transport needs.
To find out more about the FFA solution and technology for producing sustainable liquid fuel, visit our Technology page, which explains the progress we have made and continue to make in the development of synthetic fuels that are also carbon-neutral.
- Develop and prove technology via a working demonstrator using our own renewable energy sources (Dec 2015)
Present and Future Plans
- Further develop our pilot plant and promote concept / develop markets worldwide. (Ongoing)
- Develop technology for specific licensable opportunities and larger scale plants (2016 to 2020)
- Partner/joint-venture specific opportunities, eg, fuel production projects, portable plants, and commercialise technology via licences and equity (2016 onwards).
FFAis developing sustainable liquid fuel technologies and expertise through its own projects and by participating in integrated renewable energy projects with partners throughout the supply chain. Recognising the many opportunities for sustainable synthetic fuels as fossil fuels decline, we are building operational experience and entering licensing agreements to accelerate practical near-term adoption of the Fuels From Air process. This, we believe, will allow the positive vision of a zero-carbon future to be achieved sooner rather than later.1-tonne-a-day plant
Purpose/application of the FFA sustainable fuel 1-tonne-a-day plant
Pilot commercial facility producing carbon-neutral liquid hydrocarbon synthetic fuels from air-captured (or concentrated) CO2 source and hydrogen.
Initial applications include:
- Distribution centres or fleets of standard vehicles requiring secure energy supplies and/or significant reductions
in carbon footprint
- Island communities where fuel import is expensive and renewable energy potential is high
- Locations with ‘stranded’ surplus renewable energy in need of capture and use
- Sites with surplus CO2 for capture and use
Read more about the commercialisation of the process for creating sustainable fuel as an alternative to fossil fuels
The pilot facility is a key step in the commercialisation of the FFA process, develops FFA expertise and operational experience, further intellectual property for FFA, its partners and investors and provides a practical source of carbon-neutral fuels.
Designs begun in 2011 and informed by operational experience of the FFA demonstrator facility during 2012.
This practically-sized plant is locatable anywhere with a source of electricity, especially a renewable source such as a wind turbine or hydro-electric to ensure that the fuel produced is genuinely carbon-neutral.
By providing a carbon-neutral, drop-in replacement for today’s carbon-additive transport fuels, the output of the 1-tonne-a-day plant avoids carbon emissions that would otherwise have been produced by the burning of an equivalent volume of fossil fuels.
The FFA 1-tonne-a-day plant can use either concentrated renewable CO2 sources (eg, brewery, anaerobic digester, landfill site) or the FFA air-capture CO2 technology. While the former can significantly reduce initial capital costs, once-built, operational costs for concentrated CO2 and air-capture CO2 are similar and predictable. The plant provides fixed price fuel costs for the life of the facility (up to 20 years).
The 1-tonne-a-day plant provides a carbon capture synthetic liquid hydrocarbon product that can be tailored for the specific location, the use required, or specific market opportunity. Output can be optimised for diesel, gasoline, specialist oils, lubricants, waxes or even materials for the plastics industry.
Capacity/requirements: 1,200 litres of liquid hydrocarbon fuel per day using approx 3 MW (nominal installed capacity) of renewable electricity.
Purpose/application of the 1,000-tonne-a-day plants
Commercial refinery-scale facility producing carbon-neutral liquid hydrocarbon synthetic fuels from air-captured (or concentrated) CO2 source and hydrogen in quantity to substitute for declining fossil fuels.
The dimensions of an Fuels From Air plant capable of replacing significant quantities of fossil fuel will be similar to previous synthetic fuel plants – but with the addition of CO2 air capture technology.
Synthetic fuel plants using fossil hydrocarbons, such as coal or natural gas as the primary raw material have existed in various countries around the world. UnlikeFFA, these contribute to climate change and pollution. An FFA synthetic fuel facility, by contrast, enhances energy security and delivers drop-in synthetic fuels with net-neutral carbon emissions.
Read more about completed stages of the FFA journey towards creating a carbon neutral, alternative to fossil fuels.
FFA commissioned engineering design work by consultancy Simon Carves to review costs and practical issues surrounding a refinery-scale operation using CO2 air capture technologies. Once capital costs are amortised, the plant provides predictable fixed price fuel costs as well as security of fuel supply for the life of the facility (up to 25 years).
The plant can be configured to provide a variety of carbon-capture synthetic liquid hydrocarbon products that can be tailored for the specific location, the use required, or specific market opportunity. Output can be optimised for diesel, gasoline, specialist oils, lubricants, waxes or even materials for the plastics industry.
Such a plant is likely to be located where chemical industry expertise already exists. A dedicated renewable energy source such as a wind farm, tidal, or hydro-electric plant will ensure that the fuel produced is genuinely carbon-neutral, although power can be readily taken through existing electrical grid networks, using exclusively green power
FFAis developing relationships with partners to develop scaleable integrated renewable energy projects in response to climate change and the declining availability/rising costs of fossil fuels.
Capacity/requirements: 1,000 tonnes of liquid hydrocarbon fuel per day using approx 3,000 MW of renewable electricity.
FFA Demonstrator unit
Purpose/application of the FFA sustainable fuel demonstrator plant
The demonstrator unit is a transportable proof of concept facility designed to produce a variety of carbon-neutral liquid hydrocarbon synthetic fuels from air-captured CO2 and hydrogen. It provides a proving ground for FFA technologies and a facility to pilot commercial fuel-from-air designs.
The facility also helps to develop FFA expertise and operational experience and develop further FFA intellectual property. It is a flagship for FFA business development activities and a showcase for potential technology partners and investors.
The demonstrator unit was commissioned in March 2012 and was built with mostly ‘off the shelf’ components with minimum modification.
It is powered by grid-sourced electricity, but can be relocated anywhere with a source of electricity, especially from a renewable source to ensure that the fuel produced is genuinely carbon-neutral.
Capacity: 5-10 litres of liquid hydrocarbon fuel per day.
Replacing fossil fuels with a carbon neutral alternative fuel
Fuels From Air (FFA) addresses the critical issues of fossil oil depletion, fossil oil dependency, energy security and CO2-induced climate change with a practical, scalable synthetic fuel alternative while avoiding the problems often associated with biofuels.
The company will develop:
- Expertise and intellectual property in carbon-neutral fuel-from-air technology, building on the success of its demonstration unit
- Commercial designs for carbon neutral, sustainable fuel from air production facilities at a variety of scales, led by market interest and demand
- Third party funded projects using the FFA system technology under licence