Archive for November, 2012

November 6, 2012

Breakthrough – fuel from the air?

A British company, Air Fuel Synthesis recently announced that they managed to create five litres of synthetic petrol from air.

Their process uses carbon-dioxide from air, combines it with hydrogen (from split water molecules) and thanks to a catalyst it eventually turns it into methanol, and afterwards petrol.

In its current phase the process is quite expensive and low-scale but it could be stepped up for the future. Furthermore, it currently uses electricity from the National Grid, however if it’s supplied from only renewable source, it could be a completely ‘clean method’.

While it could be a great way for storing energy, there are some who doubt it’s efficiency and whether it can achieve a high-enough rate to provide a significant share as a fuel source.

The company is not the only one in this field. Icelandic Carbon Recycling International already captures carbon-dioxide for creating renewable methanol – so called RM. It can be blended with gasoline for cars or used for biodiesel.

Also, in 2009 the Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology announced that they were able to convert carbon-dioxide into methanol, while Isis Innovation also has a patent pending in this area.

Linc Energy‘s one key research area is the gas-to-liquid process, while the company UOP earlier teamed up with the University of California to focus on turning carbon-dioxide into methanol.

Therefore with so many companies working on how to solve two problems at once, in the future we may be using carbon-dioxide for running our vehicles.

 

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