E-SAF: Techno-Economics of PtL and PtH2 – Focus North America and Europe

Authors: Patrick R. Schmidt, Werner Weindorf, Sandra Failer, Yanni Astono, Alexandra Ullmann
Date: December 2023

Commissioned by Deutsche Aircraft LBST has compiled a comprehensive study comparing the economic and environmental performance of Liquefied Hydrogen (LH2) and Power-to-Liquids (PtL) in aviation. The study is focused on domestic production of electricity-based Sustainable Aviation Fuels (e-SAF) in North America and Europe, while also taking North Africa and the Middle East into account as export regions.

The analysis comprises the assessment of current and prospective costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For this, fuel supply pathways from different regions and transport/distribution were investigated for PtL (considering various fuel qualities) and LH2.

Results were compared to selected fossil benchmarks and incumbent biofuels. Questions concerning airport-side LH2 / PtL distribution infrastructure, potential reductions of pollutant emissions and non-CO2 climate impacts were investigated in focus analyses.

Through sensitivity analysis the potential variance of future costs could be estimated, and guidance given to the whole aviation ecosystem and policymakers about the benefits, challenges and needs for a timely, sustainable, and robust energy transition in aviation.

The study also emphasizes the importance of reducing certain aviation fuel constituents, such as aromatics or sulphur, which benefits both the climate and local air quality. For this reason, a dedicated fuel standard (“non-drop-in”) with zero aromatics is currently under development to minimize non-CO2 effects and pollution. Due to the long lifetime of aircraft, the massive scale-up of drop-in SAF is a crucial element to mitigate the climate impact of the existing fleet.

The study report is available for download below.

The press release accompanying the publication can be downloaded here.


Press release, Study

E-SAF: Techno-Economics of PtL and PtH2 – Focus North America and Europe