World’s first industrial-scale solar fuel plant
DAWN is the world’s first industrial-scale solar fuel plant. With this plant, Synhelion aims to demonstrate the entire Sun-to-Liquid process on an industrial scale, from concentrating sunlight to producing synthetic liquid fuel.
Located in Jülich, Germany, DAWN will be the first industrial-scale demonstration plant to integrate all the innovations developed by Synhelion for the production of solar fuels: heliostat field, solar receiver, thermochemical reactor, and thermal energy storage. DAWN will produce several thousand liters of solar fuel per year. A plant of the same size could yield about 150’000 liters of fuel annually if it was placed in a sunny location.
The commissioning of DAWN is scheduled for 2023. The fuels produced (solar kerosene and gasoline) will be used to demonstrate various possible use cases. SWISS will be the first airline to fly on Synhelion’s solar kerosene.
With DAWN, Synhelion is laying the foundation for the industrial production of solar fuels. The demonstration plant will serve as a test bench and model for future commercial plants, which will exceed DAWN’s size and offer significantly higher production volumes. By 2025, Synhelion plans to commission the first commercial solar fuel plant in Spain. Check out our scale-up roadmap.
Total mirror surface area: 1’500 m2
Our precise control technology focuses the mirrors (heliostats) to minimize optical losses and optimize the use of space and material resources, achieving the lowest cost per reflector area. The heliostats are slightly curved to increase solar concentration and are specially designed to be coupled with our solar receiver.
Solar input power: 600 kW
The mirror field reflects the solar radiation and concentrates it 1000 times, yielding a nominal solar input power of 600 kW. Inside the receiver, the concentrated solar radiation is turned into process heat that drives the thermochemical processes.
Tower height: 20 meters
The tower houses three of Synhelion’s key innovations: At the top of the tower, the solar receiver turns the concentrated sunlight into process heat, which is delivered to the thermochemical reactor and the thermal energy storage.
Financed by Synhelion + EUR 3.92 M from BMWK
DAWN is mainly financed by Synhelion and is also supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) with EUR 3.92 million within the SolarFuels research project.
Brainergy Park Jülich, Germany
DAWN is currently being built at Brainergy Park Jülich in Germany. Even though Germany does not offer ideal conditions to produce solar fuels commercially, Jülich provides ideal logistic conditions to rapidly build DAWN. On a sunny day, the radiation intensity is sufficient to produce solar fuels.
Customers: Swiss International Air Lines and other key customers
The fuels produced with DAWN will be delivered to Synhelion’s key customers to demonstrate how solar fuels can decarbonize various transportation sectors. Swiss International Air Lines will be the first airline to fly with our solar jet fuel.
How it works
A field of moving mirrors tracks the path of the sun, reflecting the solar radiation and concentrating it onto the receiver on the solar tower. Here, the solar radiation is converted into high-temperature process heat of over 1’000°C.
This heat then drives the thermochemical reaction to produce solar fuels. The reactor is fed with methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) of biowaste origin from a local paper mill, as well as water (H2O). The integrated thermal energy storage enables round-the-clock fuel production.
The road that led to DAWN
Click through the slideshow below to learn about the most important milestones that led to the construction of DAWN, the world’s first industrial-scale solar fuel plant.