Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Sucking Carbon Dioxide from the Air to Produce Gasoline? - Hit & Run

Scientists Find Cheap Way To Suck Air And Make It Into Fuel Scientists find cheap way to convert CO2 into gasoline
Sandra Phillips | 10 June, 2018, 19:56

A Canadian company is entering the race to suck carbon from the sky and turn it into automotive fuels.

Having delivered the proof of concept and demonstrated the scalability and affordability of such a system, Keith feels positive about the future of Carbon Engineering's technology.

The low-end figure is based on a scenario in which electrolysis using no-carbon energy sources breaks apart water to provide both the oxygen and-crucially-the hydrogen needed to combine with the captured carbon dioxide to produce hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline and diesel. Through heating and several chemical reactions, the filtered carbon dioxide is re-extracted and ready for further use, such as making valuable chemicals like fuels.

A British Columbia company says in newly published research that it's doing just that - and for less than one-third the cost of other companies working on the same technology. After all, humans have been causing emissions for centuries, and it's unlikely that it will ever run out, according to Steve Oldham, Carbon Engineering CEO.

High costs of extracting greenhouse gases from thin air could tumble with new technologies that can help to combat climate change, scientists said on Thursday. Some say carbon will have to be actively removed from the atmosphere.

By removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turning it into fresh fuels, through a process known as direct air capture, engineers at a Canadian firm have outlined a "scalable and cost-effective" way to reduce the planet's carbon footprint without having to disrupt industries.

David Keith, a Harvard physics professor and lead author of the paper, says the findings should shift the perception of direct air capture from "vaporware" to "something that can be built with current industrial technologies now". After 3 years, Keith and his colleagues had collected enough data to calculate the plant's efficiency-and project the costs of building a commercial scale plant with the same technology. Climeworks expect to get the cost below $100 per tonne in 5-10 years as operations ramp up.

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The new technique is also cheaper, considering that it would take anywhere between $94 and $232 to remove one metric tonne of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere against the $600 per metric tonne cost that a panel of experts estimated in 2011.

"We've bought the smallest scalable unit of each piece of technology we have".

Most importantly, the cost targets are considered affordable, ranging from $1 to $2.50 to remediate carbon dioxide released by burning a gallon of gasoline. Oldham said work is being done to reduce that.

As the resulting fuels are compatible with existing distribution and transportation infrastructure, the company believes they are a promising route for reducing carbon emissions in heavy transportation and other sectors of the energy system that are hard to electrify.

"I'm reasonably optimistic. The markets for these ultra-low carbon fuels really seem to be there now".

"Electricity from solar and wind is intermittent". CE's AIR TO FUELS™ technology is created to decarbonize the transportation sector and provide fuel sustainability within a circular economy.

That's important because solar and wind power continue to get cheaper, even powering entire cities, but Keith says that "doesn't allow us to make airplanes fly and trucks drive".

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