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Safran invests in a company specializing in CO2 capture


Another step towards the development of synthetic fuels! In February 2024, Safran invested in the American start-up Avnos through Safran Corporate Ventures, its investment subsidiary. What makes this company special? This American company has developed a technology allowing to capture CO2 in ambient air while reducing energy consumption and without the use of water. Here’s a closer look at this technological breakthrough designed to decarbonize aviation!

Avnos - pilot plant

A new way to capture CO2 in the air

Have you heard of Direct Air Capture or DAC? This technology allows to capture CO2 present in ambient air. This is a major asset for the decarbonization of aviation, given that the production of synthetic fuels (or e-fuels) requires CO2 and decarbonized hydrogen.

Founded in 2020, the start-up Avnos has capitalized on this technology by developing its Hybrid Direct Air Capture (HDAC) solution. What has changed since the previous generation? “Whether you are in a big city or in the middle of a desert, HDAC allows to capture CO2 in any environment, including those with low concentrations of CO2,” indicates Florent Illat, Head of Safran Corporate Ventures.

Other major benefits: HDAC significantly reduces the energy required in the capture process, and does so without consuming water. In fact, it’s the opposite: thanks to this revolutionary process, water is recovered and can then be reused in the process. 

“With HDAC, we capture both water and CO2 in the same air stream. A turbine passes air through a sponge-like absorbent material. A first “sponge” absorbs the water, and a second one absorbs CO2. This system is very efficient as it produces water instead of consuming it, unlike other DAC technologies.”
Ben Stone, VP Corporate Development at Avnos

The HDAC developed by Avnos offers great technological, economic and logistical potential. Nicolas Jeuland, the Group’s leading sustainable fuels expert, explains: “One of the factors hindering the development of e-fuels was the significant volume of production units. However, the Avnos capture system – like the production technologies developed by Ineratec* – consists of small, modular units. This allows, in particular, to decentralize the production of synthetic fuels, especially as the hydrogen required for their production is more difficult to transport. In addition, the energy-efficient technology developed by Avnos helps reduce the price of e-fuels, as the cost of these products is largely linked to the price of low-carbon electricity”. 

It should be noted that HDAC differs from the “concentrated source” capture system used on industrial units. In this case, CO2 is captured in highly concentrated environments, e.g. directly at plant outlets. The work carried out by the PuRe team within the We Love Intrapreneurs program focuses on intermediate concentrations. “These two approaches are therefore entirely complementary,” points out Nicolas Jeuland. 

An investment in line with Safran’s roadmap

Synthetic fuels are one of the most promising solutions for decarbonizing aviation by 2050. This new investment by Safran Corporate Ventures is therefore in line with the Group’s decarbonization strategy, particularly in terms of its support for the sustainable fuels sector. It also meets the targets of the European ReFuel EU initiative on the use of sustainable fuels in the civil aviation industry. Florent Illat explains that investments are dictated by strategy. CO2 capture technology is an essential component in the manufacture of e-fuels. It therefore perfectly complements our investment in Ineratec”. He goes on to conclude that “we need to support the development of these technologies to promote the growth of e-fuels and thereby contribute to decarbonization”.


*In 2022, Safran invested in the German start-up Ineratec, which offers technologies for the development and production of carbon-neutral synthetic fuels that can replace fossil fuels.