SWISS has acquired a financial interest in Swiss-based technology company Synhelion in a further step to help bring solar fuels to market. Synhelion will be using the funds raised by this latest financing round to scale up and commercialize its technology. Alternative fuels such as the solar fuel being developed by Synhelion are essential to the achievement of the aviation sector’s ambitious climate goals.

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has invested in the Swiss-based Synhelion company in the ETH spinoff’s latest financing round. The investment further underlines SWISS’s firm commitment to sustainability and to helping accelerate the process of bringing solar fuels to market. Switzerland’s biggest airline is putting a particular focus on such fuels in view of their strong scalability. Synhelion’s technology also offers sizeable development potential, and holds many strategic advantages over other technological approaches. To take one example, the Synhelion plant’s inbuilt heat storage facility enables the plant to be operated 24/7 with no need to draw on further renewable energy from the existing electricity grid.

“Synhelion, SWISS and the Lufthansa Group have been collaborating very constructively on bringing solar fuels to market for the aviation sector for more than two years now,” explains SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “And we are delighted that, with our new financial involvement, we can now make a further substantial contribution to helping Synhelion scale up and commercialize its innovative alternative fuel product.”

Synhelion will use the funds generated by this latest financing round to expand its solar fuel production plant to industrial dimensions and operate it accordingly. The company has also set itself an ambitious timetable for the scale-up concerned.

“Our strategic collaboration with SWISS and the Lufthansa Group and the synergies this generates are hugely valuable and enable us to tailor our technology, our products and our business model perfectly to the market,” says Philipp Furler, Synhelion’s co-founder and CEO. “It’s great to see SWISS and the Lufthansa Group underpin their confidence in Synhelion through this investment, and to see them lead the way in the aviation sector by making this key contribution to scaling up our production. And we’re delighted to welcome SWISS to our network of investors.”

Sustainable fuels essential to achieving aviation’s climate goals

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) such as Synhelion’s solar fuel are essential to the achievement of the ambitious climate goals within the aviation sector. So helping to bring such fuels to market in sufficient volumes is a top priority. Doing so will require new forms of alliances and collaborations. “In teaming up with Synhelion, we’re not only helping to bring solar fuels to market,” SWISS CEO Vranckx adds. “We’re promoting Swiss innovation, too.”

Decades of commitment from the Lufthansa Group

As a member of the Lufthansa Group, SWISS is further building on decades of experience in trialling and using sustainable aviation fuels. By participating in research programmes, pilot projects and alliances, the Lufthansa Group has steadily accumulated an extensive expertise in SAF technologies and their market development. SWISS and the Lufthansa Group are also evolving specific SAF initiatives for their private customers and corporate clients to further accelerate and finance the refinement of these technologies and bring their products to market in sufficient quantities. The resulting volumes of SAF should help send tangible global signals of demand for such products in the form of long-term procurement agreements. The Lufthansa Group is presently Europe’s biggest user of sustainable aviation fuel.