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This is absolutely brilliant!  A British company Air Fuel Synthesis has found a way using Air Capture Technology to get vehicle fuel out of the atmosphere around us by extracting the constituent carbon and hydrogen from it.

Well the invisible video is there somewhere since it wouldn't embed so here's the LINK
Please do watch it!


The magic chemistry involves capturing carbon dioxide and water. Then through electrolysis, electric current isolating the hydrogen from the water, then having it react carbon dioxide to make liquid hydrocarbons. The outcome: a clean carbon neutral fuel, that holds the promise of dramatically reducing transportation's carbon footprint.

Its the creating of a closed loop by taking the carbon out of the atmosphere that's causing Global warming and um, and using it to make fuel.    


The report said this technology is still in its early stages of development.  If the energy inputs for the electric current needed came from sustainable sources this would be a green source of liquid hydrocarbon fuel.

This is really exciting to think about the possibilities this technology could open up for rapid conversion to a green transportation infrastructure without having to replace the existing vehicle fleet, with all the resources that would require. Air Capture Technology could conceivably be useful as a bridge technology to power older vehicles greenly as they are being phased out.

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Science Matters.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow, a car totally run on politicians' hot air /nt (19+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:29:22 PM PDT

  •  In order for this to be carbon neutral... (19+ / 0-)

    the electricity for hydrolysis would need to come from one of four sources:

    1. Hydroelectric
    2. Solar
    3. Wind
    4. Nuclear

    This isn't really an earth shattering development.  It's just a conversion from one source of potential energy into that could possibly be utilized with our existing infrastructure.

    Honestly, biofuels are probably a more efficient conversion.

    Sugarcane to ethanol being the most efficient currently.

    Nothing worth noting at the moment.

    by Bonsai66 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:37:33 PM PDT

    •  But It Doesn't Require Diverting Food or Ag Land (19+ / 0-)

      The plants that do the electrolyzis could be much smaller than land for biodiesel fuel, and the renewable electric could be located in places inconvenient for other uses.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:43:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. (10+ / 0-)

        However, capturing CO2 from the atmosphere is pretty inefficient with current technology, since it requires substantial refrigeration in order to separate.

        And arable land isn't truly the problem here.  

        It's really all about energy density and transport.  Loses occur at each step of conversion, so the most efficient is always going to be electrical generation to electrical storage to mechanical motion.

        Internal combustion engines are horribly inefficient...and always will be.

        Electric vehicles are the future...and batteries with sufficient energy density are the key.

        Not carbon neutral liquid fuels.

        At best, they're a very short term stop gap.

        Nothing worth noting at the moment.

        by Bonsai66 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:24:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sugarcane doesn't have that effect. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Bonsai66, Lujane, eztempo, exterris

        Sugarcane is a grass that grows in crappy soil. You can't grow much in the canefields without piping in fertilizers and topsoil.

        It makes much more sense than corn ethanol, and Brazil is doing some amazing things with Sugarcane ethanol.

        There's no fuel oil in their process. They burn dried sugarcane husks, which makes the ethanol production process carbon negative, not just carbon neutral, because dry cane burns very clean, and those 12-foot stalks consume way more carbon as they grow than they put out when they burn.

        An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

        by OllieGarkey on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:37:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  See my comment elsewhere (5+ / 0-)

          Amongst the amazing things Brazil is doing with sugarcane is converting rain forrest to biofuel plantations. Not really sustainable.

          •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nailbender, Roadbed Guy

            It requires HUGE amounts of water.

            The run-off is toxic, and the rodents carry disease and the snakes who are after the rodents are among the most deadly on earth; the Fer-de-Lance, and HUGE rattlesnakes among about 130 others. Every year the folk who cut cane are crippled or killed. And they live in squalor.

            Enjoy your sugar in your coffee...

            "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

            by CanisMaximus on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:16:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll take this piece by piece. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              It requires HUGE amounts of water.
              Some places, like Florida, have huge amounts of water.
              The run-off is toxic,
              It doesn't need to be. Without any fertilizer or pesticide at all, you still end up with a pretty sizable sugarcane crop. It's grass, 12-foot tall grass. If you grow it without toxic chemicals you get a slightly reduced yield, but you get a sustainably produced product. You can essentially take river water, pump it through a chemical-free cane plantation, and return it to a river with no runoff, as long as you don't add chemicals.

              Monsanto would be unhappy, but there's a way to do cane sustainably. That means reduced yields, but it also means the runoff is identical to the river water you used in the first place.

              and the rodents carry disease and the snakes who are after the rodents are among the most deadly on earth;
              Well, if you have a problem with rodents, then humans should just stop growing food, because they're a reality in every single farm out there. No matter what the farm is, there's a rodent problem. Or a lagomorph problem.

              As for the snakes, we aren't talking about importing those snakes to the US. We're talking about converting our already-shrinking cane production areas into sugarcane-based fuel production areas.

              And they live in squalor.
              And how is that different from the rest of Brazil?

              Don't get me wrong, I feel for the Brazilian worker, but squalor isn't unique to the laborers in the canefields. It exists across industries in Brazil.

              Also, what is this supposed to mean?

              Enjoy your sugar in your coffee...
              We don't import sugar! We don't import sugar because US sugar gets massive subsidies to produce sugar at a lower cost than anyone else in the western hemisphere. That's the reason that the economies of the Caribbean are in the shitter. We took the only crop you can produce in the garbage that is sandy island soil, and we subsidized it so heavily that even Duvalier and Castro couldn't compete with us, and they both had slave labor.

              I'm not saying that sugarcane is the future.

              Electric cars that draw from 0-emissions powerplants are the future.

              I'm saying that sugarcane-based ethanol is better than corn-based ethanol (which is dumb, and uses oil, making it less clean than gasoline) which makes it a good emergency stopgap we can use on our way to total carbon neutrality.

              I'm saying that a move to sugarcane-based ethanol would spike the price for cane sugar, and if done right, wouldn't be an environmental negative.

              It'd also boost the economies of Caribbean nations, who would also start producing sugar once the price rose.

              Ethanol, done right, can be a tourniquet. It doesn't fix the fact that your arteries are ripped open, but it can save your life, temporarily, while someone stitches your arteries up.

              And clearly, sugarcane is superior to corn.

              Which uses fuel oil to distill.

              Which is dumb, considering the whole point of ethanol is to get away from fossil fuels.

              An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

              by OllieGarkey on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:09:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ok,ok... busted for overheated rhetoric... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                ....and my experience with sugarcane farming comes from time in Central America and sugarcane workers in Nicaragua. Not Brasil.

                The run-off was toxic because it was full of the anti-fungal agents and sulfur sprayed on the crop. Sugarcane has a whole suite of diseases caused by various fungus. Some can set in almost overnight. The anti-fungals find their way into streams and kill wildlife and ruin drinking water.

                This was in the 90's. Maybe the technology has improved.

                I know we don't import sugar. It's a fungible commodity and it's price is set by speculators.  But in my sophomoric attempt to dramatize, I let my amygdala overwhelm my remaining pre-frontal cortex....

                Besides I was really high on some really good kush.

                "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

                by CanisMaximus on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:13:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And this is why you're one of my favorites. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  You+Kush=Coherent and intelligent comment with a dash of hyperbole.

                  I don't think that anti-fungals OR sulfur are necessary in the American market, but Florida artesian water is already very, very sulfur heavy. Smells like rotten eggs, and tastes a bit like it smells. The river water has a high sulfur content too as a result.

                  We don't need the antifungal agents in Florida that they need in some of these other places. Yeah, you'll get a bit of mold on the stalks, but it wont consume them.

                  All in all, that's a much bigger problem if you're making sugar for food. You don't want sugar contaminated with fungus.

                  But if you're going to take that sugar, put it in water, boil it to sterilize it, add some yeast, and turn it into car fuel, a little bit of mold becomes much less of a problem.

                  That's my understanding, though I could be wrong.

                  I know that the highest yields in Brazil are actually coming from Organic sugarcane. I agree with your argument that we can't bulldoze the amazon for sugarcane, but my understanding was that the slash and burn stuff was mostly for the cattle industry.

                  And anyway, that's irrelevant to whether we can start producing Sugar ethanol here as a stopgap.

                  An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

                  by OllieGarkey on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 07:38:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think this is possible, chemically: (3+ / 0-)

          "…consume way more carbon as they grow than they put out when they burn."

          Mass in, mass out.

          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:55:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right, but a lot of that mass stays in the form of (0+ / 0-)

            ash and char, which is carbon, but not atmospheric carbon.

            So yes, the carbon sticks around, but it's not sticking around in the atmosphere.

            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

            by OllieGarkey on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 05:45:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And a lot of that carbon gets turned into Sucrose. (0+ / 0-)

            The chemical formula for sucrose is C12H22O11, So there's a ton of carbon and carbon dioxide absorbed to form sucrose, which we harvest almost completely from the husks before burning them.

            So much of that carbon has been removed from the dried husks in the form of sugar.

            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

            by OllieGarkey on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:18:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Much more efficient to use (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bonsai66, cocinero, wilderness voice

        solar and wind to power electric cars. The internal combustion engine is constrained by the laws of thermodynamics to the Carnot limit, 37%, with actual engines operating at 18–20%. Electricity is subject to much lower losses in transmission and use. Electric vehicles convert 59–62% of the energy from the batteries into power at the wheels.

        All of that is without even considering the losses in decomposing CO2 and H2O.

        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

        by Mokurai on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:20:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They're Coal (0+ / 0-)

        Whatever energy source is used to power cracking the CO2 and H20 into fule, and to power the recapture tech, it's all far less energy efficient than burning some more coal that's already on trains out of the ground at plants already connected to the electric grid. More pollution efficient, but not as energy efficient. And therefore not nearly as money efficient. Sadly.

        This tech is interesting because it does pull CO2 out of the Greenhouse. It's not really carbon neutral except when, as the article says, it is powered by carbon-neutral sources. Which it will be only rarely, since those sources are such a small fraction of the energy available.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:49:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes I touched on that briefly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bonsai66, John Crapper

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:43:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Current Biofuels are not sustainable (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grollen, Roadbed Guy

      They require massive amounts of water, which is now a critical global resources.

      The future of biofuels would depend on development of more sustainable processes, with various types of algae now under development but not particularly great prospects for large scale production.

      Suggest you do some homework on the actual sustainability of crop based biofuels, avoiding company propaganda, and ask yourself why  the blush has come off that rose.

      BTW, if you consider how much rain forrest in Brazil has been destroyed to grow sugarcane, it's not the great deal for the earth you might imagine.

      •  While I appreciate... (0+ / 0-)

        your ill-willed condescension, I would encourage you to reread my comments above a little more carefully.

        If liquid based fuels is your primary focus, then sugarcane to ethanol is the most efficient.

        However, the most efficient, (and thus the route that I endorse), is electrical generation to electrical storage to mechanical motion.

        Now that I have attempted to be completely clear on my priorities, I await your vitriolic response...because I know that it was what you really want:  A fight.

        Nothing worth noting at the moment.

        by Bonsai66 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:31:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The world does not lack promising (16+ / 0-)


    The problem is a combination of entrenched interests and consumer preferences.

  •  What is the electrical requirements to (7+ / 0-)

    Intiate the breaking of bonds?

  •  Have you seen this (yet another way to remove (11+ / 0-)

    carbon dioxide from the atmosphere):

    French biochemist Pierre Calleja has invented an innovative algae lamp, and it's claimed to absorb 200-times more CO2 than trees, at the rate of 1-ton annually, or what a tree absorbs over its entire lifetime.

    While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

    by Tamar on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:49:10 PM PDT

  •  I'm sorry (15+ / 0-)

    but unless I am missing something here, the concept seems unsound. Like perpetual motion.

    The problem is, if it takes

    electrolysis, electric current isolating the hydrogen from the water
    that's breaking H2O by electrolysis, isn't it?  2(H2O) into 2H2 + O2? That's going to take a LOT of energy because water is a very stable compound.  

    Reacting it with CO2, another very simple, stable molecule, to form complex hydrocarbon memory of organic is not that good, but this is not a simple thing like lighting it on fire, is it? Going to take a lot more energy to run that part of the factory.

    Simply by the laws of physics (conservation of energy, inevitable inefficiency), the system is going to require more energy input than output obtained, no? And intuitively, a looooooooooooooot more.

    Where does the extra energy come from? Fossil fuel? Woops. Cleaner sources?  Well...maybe you could produce liquid fuel that way, but my intuition is that it would be an inordinately inefficient expensive way to change kinetic energy or nuclear energy (ugh) into something resembling gasoline. I wouldn't buy any stock just now, if you can afford it maybe get a horse. ;-)

    •  It would be an elegant solution if it can be made (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to work more efficiently.  

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:13:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lefty Coaster, blw, p gorden lippy

        and that's a big if. The process might be improved to a point, but only to a point. There is a certain minimum of energy required for these chemical transformations no matter how the process is set up.

        Thinking about it some more, and to simplify it another way: the theory is that (H2O + CO2 + E, electricity added in from an outside source) becomes (H-C-H-C-H-C or whatever, long chain hydrocarbon + O2), then when you burn the fuel, which is oxidizing it, putting back the oxygen, you get (E, energy produced by the system + CO2 + H2O). Full circle.

        With perfect efficiency, the system would break even: Energy in = Energy out. CO2 in = CO2 out. H2O in = H2O out. No creation of CO2 net energy gain either, just a change in form.

        But efficiency can never be perfect. 50% efficiency would be a miracle. Therefore, the system is bound to be an energy sink, using more energy than it produces. And if the E source is fossil fuel, it will produce more CO2 than it uses up while eating energy at the same time.

        Conceivably, since nuclear can produce such enormous amounts of energy, you could use that instead for the outside electricity source, despite the sink effect, but the environmental consequences of nuclear, argh, do we want to build more plants? After Fukushima? Wind, solar or water, not so intensely productive, probably not economical unless people are willing to pay $1,000/gallon for gasoline substitute.

        As I see it, even at its most efficient this looks it it would boil down to "energy laundering," parallel to money laundering. Not a real change.

      •  No It Can't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cocinero, blw

        The energy to crack the CO2 and H2O into fuel is the same amount as the energy from burning the carbon fuel that put the CO2 and H2O exhaust into the atmosphere. This tech reverses the process.

        But all processes are inefficient, requiring more energy consumed than used for its primary mechanical/electrical/chemical purpose. There's always some waste. Electrolysis in particular wastes about 50% or more of the energy used. So at least double the energy to crack the new fuel is required than what was consumed before in making what's cracked. There are plenty of other inefficiencies, including the average 20-25% efficiency (75% waste) of internal combustion engines in cars. So probably at least 2-4x the energy is consumed by this tech to move the car the same distance as if it were just burning conventional fuel.

        And that's not going to change. Any improvement would also apply to the conventional burning tech, making it even more efficient and better than this tech.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:54:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, you have to put in more energy than (0+ / 0-)

      you get out. The point is to be able to turn renewable electricity into carbon-neutral fuel to run extremely inefficient internal combustion engines rather than efficient electric motors.

      This is what I called gee-whiz technology for decades in the market research reports I used to write. Something that everybody oohs and aahs about and nobody buys.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:16:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Uh-oh (6+ / 0-)

    I smell a hammer in the form of the First Law of Thermodynamics coming down. Every time I see something hopeful like this, a poster always brings it up. I can't even get worked up anymore.

  •  In a year the engineers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will mysteriously have died in accidents and the patents will be owned by BP.

    Hey, it's not CT. It's snarky, cynical prophesy.

    I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

    by pajoly on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:03:08 PM PDT

  •  Forgive me if I'm being dense (10+ / 0-)

    But, would it not be easier to just use the green electricity directly? This seems like a convoluted method of achieving carbon neutral status, when you can simply setup windmill/solar farm, build electric car, plug in car..go..

    Once you have vehicles on the road hauling materials to the plans then the carbon footprint of ev's drops even further, so..maybe I'm just not seeing something..seems like a rube Goldberg method of attaining carbon neutrality

    Nicht durch Zorn, sondern durch Lachen tödtet man. ~Nietzsche

    by somewierdguy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:10:40 PM PDT

    •  No, you are exactly right n/t (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blw, kyril, p gorden lippy, pgm 01, cocinero
      •  But electricity isn't practical for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lefty Coaster

        fueling trucks that haul freight all over the country.  Right now most of them run on (nasty, smelly) diesel fuel.  T. Boone Pickens explained that these vehicles have to have a fuel that will provide more power and torque than an electric motor can provide - hence his enormous investments in natural gas.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:25:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Trains, not Trucks (6+ / 0-)

          But Electricity is immensely practical for powering trains that haul freight all over the country. And all the necessary technology exists today, no additional research required.

          This is infrastructure that, in a sane world, we would be building out right now, as fast as humanely possible.

          An energy-inefficient conversion from electricity to liquid fuel, followed by a second lossy conversion in an engine from liquid fuel to mechanical power makes very little sense.

        •  ?? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pgm 01, Wee Mama

          Most modern locomotives use electric motors to drive the wheels and use a diesel engine generator to provide the electricity. The electric motors develop 1,000s of foot-pounds of torque per axle to move the train down the tracks.

        •  The electric motors are fine, in fact they can (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eztempo, SueDe

          outperform fossil fuel systems.  What is missing is an energy storage system that is light but powerful.  Battery technology and supercapacitor research continues but right now there is no direct replacement for the same sort of energy density you get with diesel or gasoline.  Wireless charging may be an option as that technology matures as well as overhead lines in dedicated truck lanes for cross-country hauls.  

          •  Hence biodiesel (0+ / 0-)

            which is not yet a production technology. It is practical to make in small batches in areas with, for example, too many oil palm trees and not enough diesel distribution, in parts of South Asia and Africa. A byproduct is soap, which, however, needs careful processing to be safe to use.

            Making biodiesel out of corn or soy oil could conceivably be made to work, and production could be sited along freeways in farm country, near many of the points of supply and use. But the price of petroleum would have to go way up to make it viable. Just as corn ethanol is not economically viable on its own, but Iowa's stranglehold on the Presidential primary process means that we cannot get rid of corn subsidies and ethanol mandates.

            Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

            by Mokurai on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:30:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes it is. It's just the current storage tech (0+ / 0-)

          that's lacking. If any one (or more) of the battery experiments sitting in labs now gets scaled to production and usable size, it's game over for fossil fuels of all types. Some boast real storage gains of over 10x current battery tech.

          To put it into perspective -- that would mean a Tesla could go for over 2000 miles without a recharge assuming they kept the same battery quantity. That kind of energy density would make it more than viable for large trucks.

    •  Yes if you don't mind buying a new electric car (0+ / 0-)

      to use it

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:24:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, you are not being dense, any more than (0+ / 0-)

      the child who asked why the Emperor had no clothes.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 11:18:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do I have this right? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    Instead of using carbon from the ground to make gasoline, these guys are converting atmospheric carbon to a similar gasoline like hydrocarbon?

    When it's burned, the carbon then returns to the atmosphere?

    I'd be very interested in the btu value of that liquid fuel.

    Or the retail value of that liquid fuel

    We've been spelling it wrong all these years. It's actually: PRO-GOP-ANDA

    by Patriot4peace on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:22:08 PM PDT

  •  I was looking for the snark tag, but it isn't (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NE2, Miggles, Matt Z, blw, kyril, pgm 01, ChuckInReno


    The magic chemistry involves capturing carbon dioxide and water.
    The words 'magic' and 'chemistry' do not belong in the same sentence, certainly not next to each other. When someone says 'magic' that pretty much means 'it doesn't work'. In this case, we are talking about a violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics.

    And the video doesn't work.

    Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

    by memiller on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:22:12 PM PDT

  •  Very interesting but silver bullet skeptical. eom (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, itzik shpitzik, Matt Z

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:24:40 PM PDT

  •  Photosynthesis? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Calamity Jean

    Except for the electrolysis part, what this describes is exactly what photosynthesis does in every green plant on the planet.

    Really, this is just a scheme to convert electricity into liquid fuel. This could have value, first because liquid fuel can hold much more energy per pound than any battery we now know how to make, and second because refueling with a liquid is much faster than recharging a battery.

    If this is worth it will depend on the efficiency of conversion from electric to chemical energy, and the remains to be seen.

    "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

    by Drobin on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:37:42 PM PDT

  •  This "fuel" is an energy-storage system, not ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... an energy source, like:
    * fossil fuels
    * nuclear
    * solar
    * wind
    etc.  But the energy to make this stuff has to come from somewhere.  And, there is significant energy loss in hydrolysis of water and in extracting Carbon from the air.

  •  I need to learn more about this (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the path.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:36:48 PM PDT

  •  In Prometheus, Weyland Industries (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, OHdog, eztempo

    has invented a 'sterilization unit' that operates exactly as described in this diary/project.

    July 22, 2059: Weyland introduces unique expedition security apparatus able to decontaminate indoor and outdoor environments. Apparatus mines surrounding air for flammable compounds, making it ultra light-weight as well as self-replenishing.
  •  Cue perpetual motion patent in 3...2...1 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sorry, complete bullshit. Nice idea in fairy tale land, but CO2 is only 400ppm, how much volume of air has to be "processed" to obtain enough "fuel" to operate a vehicle?

  •  a better source (0+ / 0-)

    A more cost effective source of CO2 would be the exhaust from coal plants.  We will still be burning coal for a long time.

  •  May not be very efficient (0+ / 0-)

    It uses electrical power (electrolysis), presumed to be from renewable resources, to crack CO2 delivering the carbon to synthesis and then delivers the fuel to internal combustion engines that burn it inefficiently.

    As a bridge technology to keep the existing inventory of ICE engines running it might be one solution, but I seriously doubt the efficiency of electrical motor running electrical power can be achieved die to the inherent frictional and thermal losses of ICEs.

  •  Does that car come with a flux capacitor? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChuckInReno, Wee Mama
  •  Here's current technology that uses some CO2 to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, Wee Mama

    produce gasoline but it is not carbon neutral. It uses natural gas as a feedstock instead of oil. It's called GTL.

    With the massive amounts of natural gas now being fracked this process WILL become a large source of gasoline in the US within the next few years. It appears the intent is to have many of these small plants located close to the various sources of natural gas. The first one will be in Oklahoma.

    With natural gas now becoming so cheap, it will be hard to stop it. Everyone wants cheap gas at the pump even if it destroys the earth. Also, fracking has severe problems that have yet to be addressed.

    Making Cleaner Gasoline From Natural Gas
    Carbon Sciences offers a complete solution for transforming an abundant and affordable supply of natural gas into gasoline that burns cleaner than existing petroleum-based gasoline. While large producers, such as Shell and Sasol, have built and operate world scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants for large natural gas fields, our solution is engineered to cost effectively produce gasoline from the thousands of available small and medium size natural gas fields.

    Our gasoline production plant will consist of two primary sections: (1) a natural gas to methanol section, and (2) a methanol to gasoline section. Our first generation GTL solution integrates best of breed and proven technologies, including the ExxonMobil Methanol-to-Gasoline (MTG) process, to produce ready to use gasoline. We are also developing a proprietary technology to enable a second generation GTL solution that will produce even cleaner gasoline by using captured CO2 or low value, high CO2 content natural gas as part of the process.

  •  It runs on sunshine and roses, apparently. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:48:33 AM PDT

  •  Carbon neutral! Sucks CO2 out of the air! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And best yet, it's free!

    There's a saying I like to tell my kids often: If something sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

    Basic thermodynamics (as pointed out by MadScientiest above) says you can't convert low-energy molecules into high energy molecules, without adding energy somewhere.

    OK, let's add electricity. Then we can use a very old technology, electrolysis of water, to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen. Great, but the electricity had to come from somewhere, and the second law of thermodynamics requires that you put more energy in than you get out (or, you always have inefficiencies).

    Photosynthesis is a really complicated process using chlorophyll as a catalyst and sunlight as the energy source to convert ambient CO2 and H2O to carbohydrates, i.e., fuels. Photosynthesis has a very low efficiency, something like 8%? (Anyone?)

    There's a LOT of research ongoing these days into developing a synthetic pathway to mimic this natural process, but alas, we are MANY years away from anything commercially viable.

    -5.38, -2.97
    The NRA doesn't represent the interests of gun owners. So why are you still a member?

    by ChuckInReno on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 03:51:09 AM PDT

  •  The process would need more energy input (0+ / 0-)

    than it outputs. But that's not an unsolveable problem, if the energy input comes from wind or solar.
       After all, who knows how much energy is used to produce a gallon of gasoline, if you add in energy for transportation and the energy used up by all the warships and aircrafts that protect the oil production process.

  •  How This "Perpetual Motion" Could Actually Help (0+ / 0-)

    As I and several others have noted in the comments, the fuel tech here will require several times as much energy to create the fuel as conventional fuels require to create the same fuel. Actually insurmoutable inefficiencies mean that it's not ever going to be cost competitive with conventional fuels. Never, in a perpetual-motion way.

    But the cracking tech is interesting, even if it's not going to be good for vehicles. Since the atmosphere is global, anywhere the CO2 is removed from the Greenhouse is a good place to do it. But some places are very good for generating energy without carbon pollution, though they're in terrible places for consuming that energy, since they're remote from human activity.

    So huge floating solar platforms in the many ocean dead zones could crack Greenhouse most every day, for mostly long tropical days. The extracted carbon could be sunk into fuels that get collected once in a while by big ships (maybe sailing ships) bringing them back to industrial civilization. Even if the carbon were sunk into food substances to regenerate the dead zones, without creating any saleable product at all, these would be a great investment. They'd save the world.

    This diary's tech is probably a dead end. But it might have a great view of a sustainable future.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 07:04:21 AM PDT

    •  I wonder if there would be more impact on carbon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to use the floating platforms to capture the plastic in the gyres and then reform that into gasoline? It starts in a thermodynamically more favorable state, and would help clean up the oceans.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 07:12:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  System Base (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama

        I think that floating solar platforms could be the base for a lot of cleanup industries that produce useful products substituting for our wasteful dead end industries today.

        I suggested a chemical level of complexity. You offered a mechanical step up. How about a biological rung on that ladder: floating solar fish farms that deacidify seawater among reefs while restocking disappearing species.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:17:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not aware of any species that would deacidify (0+ / 0-)

          Did you have something specific in mind?

          There are a great many possibilities yet to be developed on cagey uses of biological systems.

          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:53:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ::thinking here:: fish pee, and pee is chemically (0+ / 0-)

            neutral but it can break down into ammonia (alkalinizing) which nitrifying bacteria can turn into nitrates (acidifying). So, yes, I don't know whether you can deacidify with fish.

            Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

            by Wee Mama on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 10:51:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Rebalanced Ecosystems (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wee Mama

              The fish farms I have in mind are very large affairs, fed by phytoplankton as in nature, but monitored and managed by floating solar platforms powering submersible drones as herders. The solar power is used by the infrastructure required to make farms for human use. The less wasteful fish production compared to today's "factory fishing" rebalances the ecosystems, which deacidifies the ocean.

              The phytoplankton remove the acidifying carbon and dilute atmospheric CO2 in the oxygen they generate. The farmed fish sink the carbon removed by the phytoplankton when they eat it. The fish sink is consumed by the farming people, which moves that carbon to solid waste managed by people on land. The managed farming replacing indiscriminate overfishing practices protects fish ecosystem populations from boom/bust cycles that cause a lot more food chain carbon to decay at depths which today put more carbon into the water, acidifying it.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 12:14:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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