Anorak | Making petrol from air

Making petrol from air

by | 20th, October 2012

I’VE no idea whether this is just a spoof story that’s been fed to the Telegraph or whether there really are some people sufficiently deluded to think that this is a good idea. But there’s a story today that you can make petrol from air. And this is how you do it :

A small company in the north of England has developed the “air capture” technology to create synthetic petrol using only air and electricity.

Experts tonight hailed the astonishing breakthrough as a potential “game-changer” in the battle against climate change and a saviour for the world’s energy crisis.

The technology, presented to a London engineering conference this week, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The “petrol from air” technology involves taking sodium hydroxide and mixing it with carbon dioxide before “electrolysing” the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide.

Hydrogen is then produced by electrolysing water vapour captured with a dehumidifier.

The company, Air Fuel Syndication, then uses the carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methanol which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol.

The chemistry can be done: that’s not the problem at all. But you’d have to be certifiably insane to do it the way that it is described here.

You can most certainly use carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methanol. But why bother? Why not grow some barley, make methanol (or ethanol) the normal way we do for beer and booze and then make the petrol?

You can certainly electrolyse hydrogen from water but why then make methanol (or petrol) from it? You can run hydrogen through

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Posted: 20th, October 2012 | In: Money, Technology Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink