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Thread: Zero-Carbon ICE fuel

  1. #11
    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zack View Post
    Taking CO2 out of the atmosphere and then putting it back (plus heat) is not exactly zero-carbon.
    It could be carbon neutral, but bothering to take it out of the atmosphere is the silly part. The atmosphere is less that 0.04% CO2 by volume. You're much better off capturing it from the exhaust of a coal plant.

    Taken as a whole this Air Fuel Synthesis would be such a massive waste of energy. If something like methanol is the end goal, you're much better off getting it from waste processing and then from biofuels.

  2. #12
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    Plus claims of capturing carbon from the air is fairly empty as they intend to just burn the fuel and re-release it...

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    Senior Member dpeilow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEG View Post
    Plus claims of capturing carbon from the air is fairly empty as they intend to just burn the fuel and re-release it...
    Yes, but if that cycle were 100%* efficient it would be carbon neutral.

    *a big if, obviously.

  4. #14
    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEG View Post
    Plus claims of capturing carbon from the air is fairly empty as they intend to just burn the fuel and re-release it...
    That's the definition of carbon neutral, though, isn't it?

  5. #15
    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpeilow View Post
    Yes, but if that cycle were 100%* efficient it would be carbon neutral.

    *a big if, obviously.
    Depends how you define efficient. You could use renewable solar energy for the entire process. Something I'd call horribly inefficient since you could probably fuel an EV for many more miles on the same energy. But since the input power was solar it could still be carbon neutral (ignoring the carbon cost of building the solar panels, of course).

    It's like those H2 advocates that seem to think renewable energy is free. It's not. It cost money and energy to build the systems to get it. There is then the opportunity cost of the non-renewable energy you could be displacing if you weren't wasting it to make H2 or "Zero-Carbon ICE fuel".

  6. #16
    Senior Member dpeilow's Avatar
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    Yeah.

    I'd support using it in this way to make methanol for planes though. Then we could convert the plane fleet to carbon neutral (real carbon neutral, not some sweep-it-under-the-carpet offsetting BS) pretty easily. Then the Model S Beta carbon footprint thread would look very different

  7. #17
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    [ EDIT: I see Doug had a similar response as I was composing this... ]

    If they can somehow get carbon out of the air without releasing other carbon somewhere else in the process.
    I suppose if your process was 100% hydro or solar powered, and all your supplies are delivered in solar powered EVs, and all those EVs were made using carbon free power sources, etc, etc.

    I think some of it rolls back to "simple is probably better". Their process may involve some sort of pollution somewhere.

    Technology - A little about the technologies Air Fuel Synthesis will be using


    Air Fuel Synthesis technology proven by September? : Biofuels Digest
    ...In the UK, Air Fuel Synthesis revealed that it is constructing two reactors that convert atmospheric CO2 and hydrogen extracted from water, and converting it into methanol. AFS scientists, according to the company are supervising a team of chemical engineering experts from the Centre for Processing Innovation (CPI) in Teesside to prove their technology within a manufacturing process, and expect to have their technology so running by September.
    “We are building two reactors that can be used in different ways,” said Peter Harrison, of Air Fuel Synthesis, “so that we have potential to produce methanol. The methanol can then be converted for petrol or can be converted into a hydrocarbon liquid which we hope will be similar to aviation fuel.”...
    Is there pollution and/or CO2 release involved in converting the methanol into auto/aviation fuel?
    Last edited by TEG; 2011-09-29 at 03:19 PM.

  8. #18
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    Also, we ought to consider both direct air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
    For instance, if all you did is take CO2 out of the air, turn it into a hydrocarbon fuel, then burn/process it back to CO2 in the air again maybe that isn't so bad.
    But what if you take CO2 from the air, blend it with Hydrogen extracted from water, convert it into hydrocarbons, then release hydrocarbon pollution into the air.
    Maybe I am missing something here, but couldn't that be a mechanism to make smog and cause direct lung / health problems?
    It isn't just about "global warming", right?

  9. #19
    EU Model S P-37 VolkerP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nik View Post
    "Air Fuel Synthesis has identified suitable technologies and is now in a pilot stage and intends to develop this process to a commercial scale."
    Basically that says they have a business plan on existing technology. But this thread goes on the techy details, doubting efficiency, feasibility, and if calling it "carbon neutral" is viable. This discussion seems way behind to me.

    Space heating now is available from synthetic natural gas that was generated per hydrolysis using excessive electric wind power. It's even cheaper than fossil natural gas. Provided by my utility Windgas - Greenpeace Energy eG

    Solar Fuel runs a demonstration plant since 2009 (size: two containers) to suck carbon from air and turn it into synthetic methane. 25kW of electricity produce enough methane to power 2 CNG vehicles. Find their statement (in German) here: alpha-Anlage läuft SolarFuel GmbH - Strom aus erneuerbaren Quellen


    The new Audi strategy Audi Balanced Mobility is based on that technology and builds a 6MW demonstration plant with increased efficiency. The CO2 comes from a biomass plant.

  10. #20
    Senior Member dpeilow's Avatar
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    So you're using a lot of electricity to make the hydrogen, then more to make the hydrocarbon.

    We also looked at this topic recently here: Review of solutions to energy problems

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