Air Fuel Synthesis in Stockton-on-Teeshas created a process and built a machine that pulls carbon dioxide and water vapor from the air and makes gasoline.
Our energy crisis and climate change may become irrelevant in the future as scientists have done what they tend to do: Make something so ridiculously awesome that it almost seems like it’s magic.
Yes, it’s true. They revealed the working machine at a conference at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, where other scientists threw in the towel and yelled “game’s over, man.”
Tim Fox, head of energy and the environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London, said that their breakthrough “sounds too good to be true, but it is true. They are doing it and I’ve been up there myself and seen it.”
He went on to say:
The innovation is that they have made it happen as a process. It’s a small pilot plant capturing air and extracting CO2 from it based on well known principles. It uses well-known and well-established components but what is exciting is that they have put the whole thing together and shown that it can work.
The nerds over there have already made a liter of gasoline, which isn’t much, but they’ve proven that the process works not by theory or academic papers, but by actually building the machine and turning the damn thing on.
Peter Harrison, the company’s chief executive, say, “It looks and smells like petrol but it’s a much cleaner and clearer product than petrol derived from fossil oil.” He made sure to note that while it may look much different from the “dirty” gasoline we’re used to, the fuel can be used in our existing engines.
The company hopes to expand this process into producing a ton of gasoline/petrol a day within two years, and a full refinery operation within fifteen years, with the refinery powered not by the national grid but by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
It goes without saying that right now the process is ridiculously expensive, but most new technologies are. Professor Klaus Lackner of Columbia University in New York noted that this is almost always the case. “I bought my first CD in the 1980s and it cost $20 but now you can make one for less than 10 cents. The cost of a light bulb has fallen 7,000-fold during the past century.”