Engineers create gasoline from thin air:
Experts hailed the breakthrough as a potential “game-changer” as scientists seek to solve the world’s energy crisis. The small company from the north England has developed “air capture” technology which creates synthetic petrol with only air and electricity. Company chiefs say they have produced five litres of petrol in less than three months at a small refinery in Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They now hope to build a large plant generating more than a tonne of petrol per day within two years – and a REFINERY size operation within the next 15 years. The fuel works in any petrol tank and promises to be “completely carbon neutral” so long as renewable energy is used to provide the electricity. The technology, pioneered by company Air Fuel Synthesis, was presented to a London engineering conference this week. It mixes sodium hydroxide with carbon dioxide before zapping the resulting sodium carbonate with electricity, to form pure carbon dioxide. At the same time, hydrogen is produced by electrolysing water vapour captured with a dehumidifier.
The carbon dioxide and hydrogen are then used to produce methanol which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol. The £1.1m project has been in development for the past two years and is being funded by a group of anonymous philanthropists. They unnamed sponsors hope it could prove to be a lucrative way of creating renewable energy. Stephen Tetlow, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers chief executive, hailed the breakthrough as “truly groundbreaking”. “It has the potential to become a great British success story, which opens up a crucial opportunity to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “It also has the potential to reduce our exposure to an increasingly volatile global energy market.”