Scientists have created a pilot plant for producing fuel from ordinary air and sunlight. Information about this is published on the website of the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich.

The researchers consider their discovery an important milestone that will eventually help aviation get rid of carbon emissions, but said they still have a lot of work to do before the production of such fuel can be deployed in industrial quantities.

Carbon dioxide is one of the strongest greenhouse gases, and currently aviation and ships account for about 8 percent of its total anthropogenic emissions.

The system was developed under the supervision of Aldo Steinfeld from the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich. The installation receives energy from the sun and captures carbon dioxide and water from the air. A mixture of water and gas enters the reactor, where, under the influence of sunlight, they turn into carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Then liquid hydrocarbons are formed from a mixture of these gases: the installation can produce gasoline, kerosene, methanol or other types of fuel.

A pilot plant on the roof of the laboratory produced 32 milliliters of methanol in a seven-hour light day. According to calculations, in order to meet the global demand for jet fuel with the help of this installation, a factory with an area of 45 thousand square kilometers will be required.