Press Kit

About Synhelion

Synhelion uses the power of the sun to decarbonize transportation. We produce solar jet fuel, diesel, and gasoline, which can directly replace fossil fuels. Our sustainable solar fuels are carbon-neutral as they only emit as much CO2 as went into their production. They are fully compatible with existing global fuel infrastructure and offer the most economically viable, efficient, scalable, and environmentally friendly solution for clean, long-distance transportation.

Our technology reduces CO2 emissions in multiple transportation sectors; our current focus is on aviation and long-distance transportation that cannot be electrified. It also supports the decarbonization of industries that require high-temperature process heat such as cement manufacturing.

We work with solar heat because it is the cheapest renewable energy. It’s abundantly available and broadly distributed around the world. To turn sunlight into fuel, we have developed four innovation fronts: heliostats, a solar receiver, a thermochemical reactor, and thermal energy storage.

We use the sun’s radiation directly by reflecting it with a mirror field (heliostats) and concentrating it onto our solar receiver. Our precise control technology focuses the heliostats to minimize optical losses and optimize the use of space and material resources. The heliostats are slightly curved to increase solar concentration and are specially designed to be coupled with our solar receiver.

The solar receiver converts concentrated solar radiation into process heat beyond 1’500°C, making it possible to drive industrial processes such as fuel production and cement manufacturing with solar heat for the first time.

Our thermochemical reactor technology can process a variety of feedstocks into carbon-neutral solar fuels: from RED II certified biogenic methane of biowaste origin to CO2 from Direct Air Capture. As we’re capable of working with different CO2 sources, our technology is adaptable to the dynamic and varied global market conditions that will characterize the coming decades.

The solar heat generated during the day can be stored by our inexpensive thermal energy storage, enabling round-the-clock fuel production and making our solar fuel plants self-sufficient and independent from electrical grid infrastructure.

Self-contained plants that operate independently from electrical grid infrastructure make our technology quickly and broadly scalable worldwide. We are currently building the world’s first industrial facility for the production of carbon-neutral solar fuel in Jülich, Germany. Industrial solar fuel production will start there in 2023. We plan to commission the first commercial production facility in Spain by 2025.

By 2030, we are targeting a production cost below EUR 1 per liter and a commercial production capacity of 875 million liters of fuel per year. This volume corresponds to about half of Switzerland’s jet fuel demand. We plan to ramp up production capacity to produce 50 billion liters of solar fuel annually by 2040, enough to cover about half of European jet fuel demand.

We believe in a globalized world, where people enjoy the freedom to travel sustainably and cultivate personal and professional relationships. As liquid fuels continue to be needed for travel, transportation, and freight, we need to shift to sustainable, cleaner alternatives. Our solar fuels contribute to improved global energy security and independence from fossil fuel sources. They close the carbon cycle and drive a world connected by clean, sustainable transportation.

Find answers to frequently asked questions.

Find the German version here.

Our roadmap

Synhelion at a glance

2016

Founding year

ETH Zurich

Origin

3

Countries

40

Employees

12

Patent families

CHF 37.5 M

Funding

1’500°C+

Process heat

700’000 t

Annual fuel production by 2030

Press releases

    Images

    General technology

    Close-up of Synhelion’s proprietary solar receiver, which provides the necessary process heat to produce solar fuels.

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    The mirror field concentrates the solar radiation onto the DLR multifocus solar tower (right), where Synhelion’s solar receiver can be seen brightly illuminated.

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    Solar Tower Madrid Process

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    Test facility German Aerospace Center near Cologne (DE)

    At the solar tower of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Jülich, Germany, we are demonstrating the production of syngas on large scale. This 80’000 m2 solar facility has more than 2’000 mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto the two solar towers. The demonstration of our technology at this research facility marks the last milestone before we build our own industrial-scale solar fuel production facility in 2022.

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    Test facility IMDEA Energy near Madrid (ES)

    The Very High Concentration Solar Tower of IMDEA Energy was built as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 “Sun-to-Liquid” project. It is located in Móstoles, a suburb of Madrid, Spain. Synhelion has been renting this facility featuring a 1’000 m2 solar field to develop and test its solar fuel technology on medium scale.

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    Video footage

    Video footage available in higher quality upon request.

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    Management

    Dr. Gianluca Ambrosetti
    CEO and Founder

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    PhD in Physics/Nanotechnology

    Gianluca obtained his PhD in Physics/Nanotechnology from EPFL Lausanne. He held various positions in the concentrated solar power and photovoltaics industry – among them he was Head of Research at Airlight Energy and Managing Director of Dsolar. His achievements include several patents and scientific publications, and he is the recipient of the EPFL Prix Prof. René Wasserman 2011. He co-founded Synhelion in 2016 and now holds the position of CEO. Gianluca is a passionate jazz soprano saxophone player and performs regularly at concerts and jazz festivals.

    Dr. Philipp Furler
    CEO and Founder

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    PhD in Mechanical Engineering/Solar Thermochemistry

    Philipp holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich since 2014. In 2018, he completed his Executive MBA at the University of Strathclyde. Philipp has more than ten years of experience in high-temperature solar chemistry and reactor engineering. He serves as Operating Agent – Solar Chemistry Research for the International Energy Agency’s technology program SolarPACES. Prior to joining Synhelion, Philipp co-founded the ETH spin-off company Sunredox, which was acquired by Synhelion in 2018.

    Dr. Philipp Good
    Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

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    PhD in Mechanical Engineering/Solar Energy

    Philipp performed his PhD research in Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich in close collaboration with a concentrated solar power company. He joined Synhelion in 2017. Philipp has more than seven years of experience in the design, modelling, engineering, and experimental testing of high-temperature solar receivers and the optical alignment, characterization, and operation of solar concentrators. He is a passionate tennis player and participates in tournaments and team competitions.

    Mirjana Blume
    Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

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    Economist FH, MBA HSG

    Mirjana Blume is a proven financial expert with a broad range of experience. In her more than 20 years as CFO/CEO of various companies and industries, she has accompanied the entire range of business cycles, be it the buildup or expansion of a company, restructuring and turnarounds, acquisitions, spin-off or divestment of parts of a company or entire companies. With her entrepreneurial experience and financial background, she has been supporting various companies on the board of directors, including as Member of the Board of Orell Füssli Group or Vice-Chairwoman and Head of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors for the past nine years of the energy service provider IWB (Industrielle Werke Basel).

    Patrick Hilger
    Managing Director Synhelion Germany

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    MSc in Energy Engineering

    Patrick graduated with a Master of Science in Energy Engineering from RWTH Aachen University. He worked as a project engineer for the research institutions Solar Institute Jülich (SIJ) and German Aerospace Center (DLR) in the field of heliostat development and played a key role in the design and construction of Synlight, the largest artificial sun in the world. Together with Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hoffschmidt, he founded Heliokon GmbH in 2016, which has been part of Synhelion as Synhelion Germany GmbH since 2021.

    Simon Dieckmann
    Managing Director Synhelion Germany

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    Dipl.-Ing. Mechanical Engineering + Dipl.-Ing. Engineering & Business

    Simon holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering with focus on aerospace technology and a degree in Engineering & Business from RWTH Aachen University. Before joining Synhelion in 2019, he worked for several years as a research engineer at the German Aerospace Center, where he gained extensive experience in the techno-economic assessment of renewable energy technologies and CSP-related software development.

    Measurements

    Minimum spacing
    w = 40 mm
    h = 9,5 mm

    Protected space around logo
    3× (increases proportionally)