Air transport requires advanced liquid fuels

New project ‘Flabbergast’ will develop aviation fuels from biologically derived alcohols.

07.07.2017 | Klaus Condé Christensen

Andreas Massling, Senior Researcher, has received funding from the Danish Strategic Research Council – Program for Sustainable Energy and Environment - on 474,493 DKK (for the years 2016 – 2018) total project budget 9,155,326 DKK for the project Flabbergast (Future Liquid Aviation Biofuels Based on Ethers for Gas Turbine Engines).

In this project we will develop novel and sustainable aviation fuels from biologically derived alcohols. While commercial land-transport and shipping have readily available sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, air transport requires advanced liquid fuels. The present project regards fuels based on ethers made from intermediate-length alcohols. A broad selection of ethers will be made by catalytic condensation from alcohols, and assessed for jet-fuel compatibility. In parallel, bio-mobilization of these alcohols, produced in baker's yeast and lactic acid bacteria (LAB), will be pursued.

The chosen organisms have the ability to grow under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, are robust to adverse conditions, such as the presence of acids, alcohols and bio-mass inhibitors, and several strains have been adapted to diverse biomass feedstocks. They produce some alcohols of varying chain lengths, and can be easily manipulated, to make other alcohols. Technologies required for strain selection, molecular evolution and metabolic engineering are implemented in our labs. Candidate fuel blends (ethers) produced from target alcohols will be subjected to lab scale physical-chemical testing, engine compatibility evaluations, select fuel-system rig testing and assessed for environmental impact of ultrafine particle emission by our project group.

These real-world tests will be at the core of the project, facilitating optimal selection of biologically produced target molecules for future industrial production. The project spans four Danish universities and five foreign laboratories and further has a strong industrial guidance through partnering with Novozymes, Airbus, Scandinavian Airlines, Atlantic Airways, Cumulus Bio (startup), and Bioethanol Denmark (startup). Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation (NISA) will ensure compatibility with current engine technology and process sustainability.  

  For further information please contact  Andreas Massling at

Institut for Miljøvidenskab, Medarbejdere, Offentligheden / Pressen