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Turning carbon dioxide into fuel
Posted: 10 October 2008 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Posted this good news here because “they” and “them” will supress it etc of course…

You might have thought that recycling is limited to paper, plastics and glass. Well, think again. A Californian company is developing a new technique for recycling carbon dioxide, or CO2, and turning it back into fuel.

Carbon Sciences believe they have made a breakthrough with their technology, which they say can transform CO2 back into basic fuel building blocks efficiently.

Their biocatalytic process converts CO2 into basic hydrocarbons - C1 (methane) C2 (ethane) and C3 (propane)—which can then be utilized to make higher-grade fuels like gasoline and jet fuel.

“We are very excited by what we’ve seen in the lab. We’ve had some promising results,” Derek McLeish, President and CEO of the Santa Barbara-based company, told CNN.

By employing biocatalysis—using natural catalysts to perform chemical reactions—Carbon Sciences hope to bypass the problem of inefficient energy ratios which can render many CO2 recycling projects pointless.

“We don’t use high temperatures or high pressures, which is a huge advantage in terms of scaling the project up,” McLeish said.

In the future, McLeish envisages Carbon Sciences setting up shop next door to large CO2 emitters—coal, gas-fired plants and oil refineries—recycling concentrated streams of CO2 discharged from fossil fuel plants. Trying to take CO2 out of natural air just wouldn’t be worth it.

“The beauty of this system is the whole infrastructure to distribute, to market and to use it is already in place,” he said.

The recycling process has five main stages. After rudimentary purification and regeneration of the biocatalysts, the CO2 is transferred to a Biocatalytic Reactor Matrix where mass quantities of biocatalysts function in a matrix of liquid reaction chambers breaking down CO2 and turning it into hydrocarbons.

Liquids are then filtered and gases are extracted through condensers ready for conversion to higher grade fuel.

Carbon Sciences are just one of many companies all over the world who are beavering away trying to find effective methods of renewing CO2. The science is well known, but practical energy effective devices are in short supply.

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico are exploring the idea of using concentrated solar energy to turn CO2 into fuel. The Sunshine to Petrol project is testing a prototype device called the Counter Rotating Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator (called CR5 for short) which turns CO2 into carbon monoxide which could then form part of a liquid fuel.

Others, like Michael North, Professor of Organic Chemistry at Newcastle University in the UK, are looking at transforming CO2 into useful chemical compounds called cyclic carbonates for industrial use.

Professor North says recycling CO2 may be more vital for the chemical industries than for fuel production.

“People don’t seem to realize that ten percent of everything that comes out of an oil well doesn’t go to the fuel industry, it drives the chemical industry. So not only are we facing a fuel crisis but the entire chemical industry is likely to cease to exist. So we desperately need to find ways of making basic chemical materials out of CO2 to keep the chemical industries ticking over.

Professor North and his team are currently in discussions with some potential investors. He believes that Carbon Sciences’ program sounds feasible.

“They will need to address issues about how long the biocatalysts are active for before they need replacing. If they only work for a day then you are going to be getting through tons and tons of biocatalyst for each ton of CO2.

“Biocatalyst life span and poisoning—by things like nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and other impurities - will be the issues determining how feasible it is and how cost effective it is,” he said.

While McLeish doesn’t envisage his biocatalytic technology being able to service the fuel needs of all motorists, he is confident that it can perform profitably on a smaller scale.

“Transportation uses transportable fuels. We need renewables—wind, tidal—but these are not useable in the transport sector. One of the challenges in the future will be transportation,” he said. “The grand vision here is to take waste, build it into a portable fuel and make it useful.”

McLeish recently presented his ideas to a climate conference at Cambridge University in the UK where they were warmly received. And if all goes to plan the company will start a pilot project in 2009.

The conference also gave him the opportunity to promote another Carbon Sciences venture: turning CO2 into precipitated calcium carbonate. Like Professor North, his target is the industrial sector; in particular the paper, plastics and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Another potential benefit of recycling CO2 will be the reduction of large scale geosequestration.

The problem of rising CO2 emissions was highlighted again recently with the publication of the Global Carbon Project’s Carbon Budget 2007. Concentrations of atmospheric CO2 have risen to 383 parts per million. A rise of 2.2 ppm on 2006 figures.
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Of 28 billion metric tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere, fossil fuel emissions accounted for almost a third.

Although some climate critics might scoff at the idea of recycling CO2 arguing that we should be emitting less rather than recycling a pollutant, reusing it may well prove effective in kick-starting a new carbon market, as well as helping clean up our increasingly polluted planet.

The Source

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Posted: 10 October 2008 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hmmm… I smell bovine excrement… Turn car exhaust into useful materials via the power of SCIENCE! It sounds a bit too good to be true, with just enough science thrown in to convince the investors.

Why is this in Conspiracies, though?

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Posted: 10 October 2008 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Foresight!

“They” are going to kill it, just like all the water run cars.

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Posted: 10 October 2008 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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What???  You mean those pills I bought won’t turn the water in my tank into gas????

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Posted: 10 October 2008 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Robin Bobcat - 10 October 2008 07:29 PM

Hmmm… I smell bovine excrement… Turn car exhaust into useful materials via the power of SCIENCE! It sounds a bit too good to be true, with just enough science thrown in to convince the investors.

People falsely claim to have invented a wonderful new “clean” form of fuel production?  Surely not!  Such a thing is unheard of!

Even if they do truly think that they have just that, I am rather doubtful of their saying that it doesn’t have much in the way of energy costs.

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Posted: 12 October 2008 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Beasjt - 10 October 2008 07:38 PM

Foresight!

“They” are going to kill it, just like all the water run cars.

Water fuelled cas was made by a filipino inventor but DOE i think claimed it was a hoax

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Posted: 17 October 2008 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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This actually makes a LOT of sense.  If you have ever seen what the scrubbers on an industrial smokestack look like when they are pulled, you wouldn’t find the idea so far fetched. Frankly i am surprised no one has thought of this before now.  When the scrubbers come out, they are coated to overflowing with what looks like copy machine toner.  The stuff sticks to everything and is almost pure carbon!

I can actually see how this might be a functional idea.

Only time will tell.

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Posted: 17 October 2008 10:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Right. Here’s the trick: Those scrubbers don’t work ‘for free’. Breaking CO2 and CO into its components takes energy, either chemical or otherwise. Even if you use a chemical catalyst that does it without apparent energy involved, making the converters takes energy. At that point, your ‘fuel’ isn’t the CO2, but rather the chemical catalyst.

Now, I *will* point out it *is* possible to convert the CO2 and whatnot back into fuel.. it takes a LOT of energy (more than was released burning it), but it can be done. However, this may be *advantageous*, as you are effectively creating a stored energy medium, which can power a car better than an extension cord connected to a power plant.

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Posted: 18 October 2008 11:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Energy Efficacy vs Global Well Being.
No one said Going Green would be cheap smile

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Posted: 19 October 2008 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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DJ_Canada - 19 October 2008 03:52 AM

Energy Efficacy vs Global Well Being.
No one said Going Green would be cheap smile

Of course, energy efficiency generally contributes to global well being. . .

wink

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Posted: 20 October 2008 11:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I have the ultimate “green energy machine”!!!

Robin Bobcat - 18 October 2008 02:33 AM

Right. Here’s the trick: Those scrubbers don’t work ‘for free’. Breaking CO2 and CO into its components takes energy, either chemical or otherwise.

You’re right, of course, but my ultimate green machine uses solar power.  It’s actually a biotic system.  There are light-sensitive molecules capable of harnessing the Power of the Photon (sorry—need to put in random caps like that so you’ll think I’m a crackpot) to produce energy-containing carbohydrates OUT OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 AND WATER!

THIS iS NoT JUST ThEORy!!!

I have several of these systems that I’ve had running continuously indoors for many years, and many more I keep out in the back yard.

A “free” energy source that doesn’t violate ANY of the LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS!!

Here’s the chemistry:

6 CO2(g) + 12 H2O(l) + photons → C6H12O6(aq) + 6 O2(g) + 6 H2O(l)

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Posted: 21 October 2008 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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*locks Joe in the basement until his meds kick in*

Photosynthesis works nicely.. because it uses energy, and is a SLOW process. Which is a good thing. Nobody wants a redwood forest in their backyard the day after it rains.

I’ll also point out one thing: For all the ‘this removes CO2 from the atmosphere’ talk, they forget: burning the fuel will release it again…

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