British Scientists Make Gasoline From Air

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British Scientists Make Gasoline From Air

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A company in England has made gasoline out of CO2 extracted from air.

The company Air Fuel Synthesis, located in northern England, has proven the concept that fuel can be made from a synthesis of water vapor and clean air. The proof of concept machine the company is currently operating has produced five liters of fuel since August. The resulting fuel is fully compatible with the current transportation grid, and if removed from the tank would run any existing gas powered vehicle. "There's nobody else doing it in this country or indeed overseas as far as we know. It looks and smells like petrol but it's a much cleaner and clearer product than petrol derived from fossil oil," said Peter Harrison, the chief executive of the company. The company hopes to have a commercial scale plant up and running by the end of 2014.

The fuel creation process is currently powered by the existing electric grid, and so any clean fuel produced now is actually made using mostly fossil fuels. If the conversion plant were powered by a renewable source of energy, such as wind or solar, then the resulting fuel would be a messiah of green fuels. The clean gasoline would solve the problem of solar and tidal energy rich areas in that it would make that energy easy to transport in a liquid form. At the same time, it would actually remove carbon from the atmosphere, carbon production being the primary problem with burning fossil fuels. The company is currently working on two fuels, a standard and an aviation fuel. The first step for the company is likely to be to blend their product with conventional fuel to make fuels for motor sports.

The company's findings have been independently verified by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London. Apparently, this technology has existed for some time and been achievable, being based on already known principles. Air Fuel Synthesis, however, is the first to actually put all the pieces together and show it can work. While it's obvious that a full scale application of this technology, let alone the day that the tech is cheap enough to be economically feasible, is a long way off, I think I'll take it as an acceptable alternative to Mr. Fusion from Back to the Future II. At least until I can get my hands on a Mr. Fusion.

Source: The Independent

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As fantastic as this is, I can see it disappearing into nothing within a few years because it just isn't profitable enough for the people with one too many bags of cash.

and yay for tecnology

We get fuel out of the god damned air, how can we NOT be living in the future now?

I say we work on setting up a decent warp drive now...

Great, now the oil companies have the means to theoretically -never- let go of their monopoly on energy.

Energy sources which can be efficient and accessible to everyone virtually for free? No way! These hugely profitable corporations must make a few extra billions a year, progress of global infrastructure be damned!

Gasoline from Air... SCIENTISTS LISTEN UP! Stop making better pregnancy tests and help real scientists do science!

Witty Name Here:
We get fuel out of the god damned air, how can we NOT be living in the future now?

I say we work on setting up a decent warp drive now...

Ever heard of conservation of energy? Every chemical reaction is reversible, so if a combustion engine converts gasoline into carbon dioxide, water, and energy, then we should be able to convert carbon dioxide, water and energy into gasoline. And that's exactly what they did, so that's 0% surprising. In fact, they actually put more energy into producing the fuel than you can get out of it because of entropy.

Given that you need an insane amount of clean energy to even dent the efficiency of fossil fuels, and you lose energy with every transition, I don't see how this is a good solution for anything.

And expect gas prices to drop NEVER!

I really hope they can make a profit out of this. I can see a lot of oil companies reacting very poorly to this.

Dammit, now I have to work this out.
Assuming petrol is octane without any other hydrocarbons...

8CO2 + 9H2O --> C8H18 + 12.5O2
I DIDN'T JUST EDIT A MISTAKE IN MY EQUATION BALANCING, YOU SAW NOTHING
That's entropically disfavoured - enthalpically as well, given that the reverse of that reaction is simply burning octane in air.
At least at room temperature.
Increasing pressure might bring equilibrium over a bit, and damned if they're not catalysing it somehow - but yeah, that'd be crazy expensive.
It's a nice idea, but it could very easily fall through if they can't make their process more efficient.

Sorry but this is the only way to properly show my reaction

DragonsAteMyMarbles:
Dammit, now I have to work this out.
Assuming petrol is octane without any other hydrocarbons...

8CO2 + 9H2O --> C8H18 + 12.5O2
I DIDN'T JUST EDIT A MISTAKE IN MY EQUATION BALANCING, YOU SAW NOTHING
That's entropically disfavoured - enthalpically as well, given that the reverse of that reaction is simply burning octane in air.
At least at room temperature.
Increasing pressure might bring equilibrium over a bit, and damned if they're not catalysing it somehow - but yeah, that'd be crazy expensive.
It's a nice idea, but it could very easily fall through if they can't make their process more efficient.

Here how I could see a way: It has been proposed in a hypothetical renewable energy dominated energy system to use the excess electricity generated by wind, solar photovoltaic, hydro, marine currents and others to make methane (natural gas) by electrolysis of water. The process described would be to create hydrogen and the addition of carbon dioxide CO2 (Sabatier process) to create methane as follows: CO2 + 4H2 → CH4 + 2H2O
Use the newer cheaper methods of the Fischer-Tropsch process to convert Methane to Gasoline.

It's a neat and tidy idea considering all the engines in the world that run on petrol and all the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we don't want. If we had fusion reactors to cleanly create a massive amount of clean energy then this would be awesome but we don't.

Nice I hope this idea takes off, seeing as it would remove carbon dioxide that we have been dumping into the atmosphere since the start of industrialization pretty much. Also cool to see its some British scientists leading the charge. Nice to see my inflated gas and electric bills are paying dividends.

Oh no we're going to run out of air!

razor343:
As fantastic as this is, I can see it disappearing into nothing within a few years because it just isn't profitable enough for the people with one too many bags of cash.

Granted a lot of people stand to lose out from this, but those same people (if they're smart enough) could be the one investing in it.

From the perspective of someone like BP, this has the potential to remove or reduce transport costs and more importantly, reduce the need for costly and dangerous oil wells. Petrol separated from political instability and tankers, there's a thought. Fuel prices could go down, profit margins would go up and they already have an infrastructure that the entire planet runs on.

Of course a number of Arab states will be shitting themselves, the ability to produce fuel locally would fantastic, for their local, non oil producing rivals...

That sounds great if we can ever grow our non-fossil fuel power plants. Too bad everyone dislikes nuclear so much.

Call Me Jose:
Oh no we're going to run out of air!

Nah, we'd run out of Carbon Dioxide... Which might actually be a good thing for a while, what with Global Warming and all...

OT: Huh, neat. Maybe Gasoline isn't Archaic after all. Still, I don't want the first car I ever buy to run on it; 4+ Dollars is crazy!

The question we should be asking isn't "is it economically feasible?", rather "are we getting more power out than we put in?". If it's costing us 1.21 gigawatts to get enough petrol to light an LED for 20 seconds, it's probably not worth the efforts =p

This is an old idea and I heard of a similar idea of taking carbon from the air and using the power from a nuclear plant to convert it back to gas. It looked promising until Fukashima

Wow, I must literally live down the street from them. I should pay them a visit at some point and shake someone's hand; it's unusual for a great breakthrough like this to happen. It's even better to learn that this happened in your own local area.

Here's hoping that they patented the process... otherwise the oil companies will be throwing bribes all round to rush through a patent of the process and ensure that no more of this is ever produced except at their 200% markup of the actual production cost

The first step for the company is likely to be to blend their product with conventional fuel to make fuels for motor sports.

Awesome. The more relevant motorsports are the more people will be drawn to it.

[tinfoilhat]
I wonder if this is going to be one of those technologies that gets bought out by the energy companies and then vanishes into some sort of technological black hole, never to be seen again. Like so many others. [/tinfoilhat]

CAPTCHA: Pyrrhic Victory
Yes, captcha. It may well have been.

We can save the future now

As others have said, I can't see how this would be anything more than an amusing piece of news since they have to use energy, more enrgy than they get from the gasoline, to make it out of air.

So they can transform energy made with, for ecample, solar panels into gasoline? Whoopty doo.
If you'd find a way to make solard energy or other renewable energy sources more efficient, now that'd be a news piece.

Witty Name Here:
We get fuel out of the god damned air, how can we NOT be living in the future now?

I say we work on setting up a decent warp drive now...

Not a warp drive, but still pretty damn awesome:

http://www.uah.edu/news/research/2501-slapshot-to-deep-space#.UIHdvYYkrKo

OT: Won't the combustion process still produce CO2 anyway? CO2 is always produced from a combustion reaction. But I guess if the process takes up as much CO2 as is produced, it's perfectly clean.

Fuck you, oil companies!

I tend to agree that big oil companies aren't going to let this one succeed. It's like most other alternative energy plans, unless these things come about with a multi-billion dollar alliance behind them to force the deal, they aren't going to go anywhere. The guys who did this are too small in scope to survive.

What's going to happen is the existing companies will buy the patent and sit on it, ensuring nobody else can legally use it while not using it themselves, OR they will simply make it impractical for them to get any kind of infrastructure going. Saying they want to get a plant going is nice, but when you consider the zoning permissions, and even buying the land itself, strong enough opposition and political bribe money can kill it outright.

DVS BSTrD:
And expect gas prices to drop NEVER!

Quite the opposite in fact. They will counter this innovation by saying "Our livelihood is threatened, we must increase prices now!"

God damn I love living in the future.

008Zulu:

DVS BSTrD:
And expect gas prices to drop NEVER!

Quite the opposite in fact. They will counter this innovation by saying "Our livelihood is threatened, we must increase prices now!"

And even THIS will be outsourced "Can you imagine the prices we would have to pay if they used British/American/any first world country where workers are being paid a decent wage air?"

DVS BSTrD:
And expect gas prices to drop NEVER!

They'll rise like air.

Get it? Air? *laughs*

Mr.Mattress:

Call Me Jose:
Oh no we're going to run out of air!

Nah, we'd run out of Carbon Dioxide... Which might actually be a good thing for a while, what with Global Warming and all...

OT: Huh, neat. Maybe Gasoline isn't Archaic after all. Still, I don't want the first car I ever buy to run on it; 4+ Dollars is crazy!

they suck all of the CO2 out of the air, plants no longer have anything to nom, plants die, oxygen is doomed!

ITS THE END OF DAYS! REPENT, REPENT!

How are world economies not throwing large sums of cash at this to speed up the process? oh right we're all held by the balls by big oil companies.

LTK_70:
Given that you need an insane amount of clean energy to even dent the efficiency of fossil fuels, and you lose energy with every transition, I don't see how this is a good solution for anything.

It's a good solution for "how do we keep people from developing better technology and moving forward as a species while saving money and resources?"

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