The solar thermochemical fuel pathway offers the possibility to defossilize the transportation sector by producing renewable fuels that emit significantly less greenhouse gases than conventional fuels over the whole life cycle. Especially for the aviation sector, the availability of renewable liquid hydrocarbon fuels enables climate impact goals to be reached. In this paper, both the geographical potential and life-cycle fuel production costs are analyzed. The assessment of the geographical potential of solar thermochemical fuels excludes areas based on sustainability criteria such as competing land use, protected areas, slope, or shifting sands. On the remaining suitable areas, the production potential surpasses the current global jet fuel demand by a factor of more than fifty, enabling all but one country to cover its own demand. In many cases, a single country can even supply the world demand for jet fuel. A dedicated economic model expresses the life-cycle fuel production costs as a function of the location, taking into account local financial conditions by estimating the national costs of capital. It is found that the lowest production costs are to be expected in Israel, Chile, Spain, and the USA, through a combination of high solar irradiation and low-level capital costs. The thermochemical energy conversion efficiency also has a strong influence on the costs, scaling the size of the solar concentrator. Increasing the efficiency from 15% to 25%, the production costs are reduced by about 20%. In the baseline case, the global jet fuel demand could be covered at costs between 1.58 and 1.83 €/L with production locations in South America, the United States, and the Mediterranean region. The flat progression of the cost-supply curves indicates that production costs remain relatively constant even at very high production volumes.
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