• Jan 11th 2008 at 3:55PM
  • 8
OK, we write about some pretty darn cool technologies and green ideas 'round these parts, but this story takes the cake for wish-we-had-it-today processes. Get this: the idea is to, in the end, be able to snatch carbon dioxide out of the air and make liquid fuel out of it. The process takes the CO2 and then:
chemically "reenergize" carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide using concentrated solar power. The carbon monoxide could then be used to make hydrogen or serve as a building block to synthesize a liquid combustible fuel, such as methanol or even gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Basically, clean the air and make a usable fuel out of the nastiness you remove (plus water). How cool is that? The problem is that it will take quite a while before this is possible. A team at Sandia National Laboratories has a prototype device (called a Counter Rotating Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator, or CR5) in the works, but a researcher quoted in the REA article says it's " probably a good 15 to 20 years away from being on the market." Well, at least we have one more thing to hope wait for.

[Source: Renewable Energy Access]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Don't the catylytic converters in our cars burn carbon monoxide? Why don't we try scooping and storing the Co from our exhaust pipes and recirculating it into fuel again, if that's possible?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Convert sunlight and CO2 into fuel. Hmmmm... isn't that what plants have been doing for eons?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree, the process sounds a bit like algae.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Making hydrogen "out of" CO or CO2? ...And I've got a money tree out back.

      Any chemists want to pipe up?

      Just being pedantic.
      • 7 Years Ago
      As far fetched as it may sound, I don't think we should take anything off the table until it has been thoroughly investigated.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like it except for the 're-energized' bit.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Basically, clean the air and make a usable fuel out of the nastiness you remove (plus water)"

      So CO2 is nastiness? I assume you mean it's nasty because it's a greenhouse gas?


      Yup, 95% water, 3%C02, and then Methane and some other lesser concentrations of gases.

      Oh, and pound-for-pound, 02 is more potent than C02 for good old greenhouse effect.

      Idiots. Hybrid technology that increases 02 in the atmosphere is actually going to INCREASE the greenhouse effect.

      So should we label water as "nastiness" now?
      • 7 Years Ago
      IF the conversion efficiency is high enough and the capital costs aren't obscene, then it's worth doing.

      If the conversion efficiency is < about 10%, you might as well just electrolysize water into hydrogen. That's a known cost and is getting cheaper all the time.

      If the conversion efficiency is < about 5%, then you might as well just grow algae, or water hyacinth, or switchgrass and convert to liquid transport fuels.

      And that's assuming some of the out-there batteries don't pan-out. (Sulfur-silicon & lithium-silicon). If those come together along with putting some intelligence in the grid, then we fix our transport AND electricity generation greenhouse gas problems.

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