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British Engineers Produce Amazing 'petrol From Air' Technology


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The way I read it is that sodium hydroxide is used to remove the carbon dioxide from a certain amount of air, giving a quantity of sodium carbonate. This sodium carbonate is then "electrolysed" to regenerate the sodium hydroxide, which process also gives a useful quantity of pure and concentrated carbon dioxide which is used in a further stage. So it's a reversible cyclical process which doesn't actually consume sodium hydroxide.

would not it be cheaper just to produce hydrogen as a fuel? yes the fuel tanks would be bigger, but especially for larger vehicles it should not be a problem

anybody has some analyses, how much would it cost using French nuke electricity during nights when is no demand?

or do we have to wait for high temperature reactors so it can compete with oil/natural gas?

I do not see an option to use wind mills or solar as if the subsidy is removed they will be all bankrupted in 6 months

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Alkanes (petrol) + Oxygen = CO2+water+energy

This is the combustion of petrol that makes cars work.

Therefore :

CO2+water+energy=alkanes+oxygen.

the reverse process is also true.

Firstly, you cannot make more energy backwards than forwards, so it can only be a storage mechanism, which is great if electricity is being produced at an inconvenient time.

Secondly, the forward process involves little more than a spark to initiate the reaction. The backwards in this case requires something a bit more nasty.

The potential success relies on how much energy is wasted in reversing the process and how environmentally nasty the process is.

To me you've got to weight this up against something like electric cars.

For example in an electric car you could charge it overnight (in the same way this uses electricity at low demand periods to make alkanes). Is the process of charging a car battery overnight likely to be more environmentally friendly and more energetically efficient than capturing co2 back from the atmosphere, combining with water and adding in energy than charging a car battery (bearing in mind a lot of the batteries are made of nasty stuff as well and this has to be factored in, plus stuff like loss in transmission, whereas petrol is very efficient to transport).

My speculation is no. So this is all a bit useless. Unless we want to carry on making plastic after the oil runs out.

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would not it be cheaper just to produce hydrogen as a fuel? yes the fuel tanks would be bigger, but especially for larger vehicles it should not be a problem

anybody has some analyses, how much would it cost using French nuke electricity during nights when is no demand?

or do we have to wait for high temperature reactors so it can compete with oil/natural gas?

I do not see an option to use wind mills or solar as if the subsidy is removed they will be all bankrupted in 6 months

Hydrogen has issues as a fuel - in terms of range it's in the same region as batteries.

Basically, the one virtue of hydrogen as a fuel is that it's easy to make from electricity. In every other way - ease of storage, amount of storage, energy density, handling.. it's a nightmare.

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We do not need a liquid fuel substitute.

We need a fuel that has an energy density comparable to diesel, petrol or Jet A-1. It is no coincidence that all these are liquid, and can be metered using relatively simple injectors and valves. Liquid hydrogen is in the same ballpark, but is a ******* to store.

Batteries simply cannot achieve this energy density and remain 1) reliable and 2) stable. The physics is somewhat against them: a tank of petrol simply needs a tank. A battery needs the case, plates, separators and electrolyte - and in between all that lot we can try and stash the chemicals that store energy.

Batteries already store a viable amount of energy. Even with no installed high speed charging facilities current battery technology is more than enough for most households to run at least one of say two cars.

Sure, batteries are already good enough for me to run a second car. Just like it is perfectly sensible to have a humongous V12 in the garage as a week-end toy. It would be very nice to have a Tesla in the garage for local trips, but it could not reliably be my daily driver. So I now need two cars - not sure of the environmental benefit of doing that.

On this process, it may well work, but it is likely to be staggeringly inefficient. However, if it matured at the same time that fusion became a reality (always 50 years from now)....then it would be quite useful.

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Using electricity (and other expensively produced chemicals that require massive energy inputs) to produce a liquid fuel substitute is b o l l u x.

Battery technology is already higly efficient.

Electric motors are amazingly efficient, far more so than any IC engine.

Speed, torque and power electric control systems are amazingly efficient compared to ANY mechanical equivalent.

CHarging systems and batteries capable of fast charging are improving all the time, as are energy desnity, peak discharge rates.

We do not need a liquid fuel substitute.

^

This

Good on the scientists but the whole process shows how inefficient our current method of powering vehicles is. Even using crude oil out of the ground the power needed to refine it is massive.

Work on some cheaper batteries --> job done.

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wont be NEUTRAL till all the energy used to create the stuff produces no carbon.

I guess that's why the report said:

"...if renewable energy is used to provide the electricity it could become “completely carbon neutral"

It was even quoted in the OP. Did you read it at all?

Also of course you could use nuclear energy to power the process, also 'carbon neutral' ticking the eco-BS boxes.

The thing about oil, is that the energy of the Sun is embedded in it....few other fuels are as cheap to extract and some even take more energy to produce than they finally output.

AND, here is the CLAIM from the Article:

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

The technology that produces the synthesized petrol DOES remove carbon from the atmosphere. It's just that it goes back in when its burned in an engine. This allows the overall process to be carbon neutral, depending on how you generate the electricity needed.

It's basically an 'electricity to hydrocarbon fuel' conversion technique. Whether or not it makes sense to do this or you'd be better just using the electricity 'unconverted' to power electric cars remains to be seen but my money would be on the latter.

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Sure, batteries are already good enough for me to run a second car. Just like it is perfectly sensible to have a humongous V12 in the garage as a week-end toy. It would be very nice to have a Tesla in the garage for local trips, but it could not reliably be my daily driver. So I now need two cars - not sure of the environmental benefit of doing that.

Why? Do you regulaly need to drive more than 100 miles in a day? And can't spare 15 mins for an 80% fast charge*?

*admittedly not many at the moment

Ok then why not get when of these?

Vauxhall-Ampera-008.jpg

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Well. there are two theories:

1 - Oil is being generated and moved to the surface at rates comparable with current production.

OR

2 - There is oxygen in the atmosphere.

One of these is correct. They can't both be.

Would love to hear the workings behind the last statement.

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We need a fuel that has an energy density comparable to diesel, petrol or Jet A-1. It is no coincidence that all these are liquid, and can be metered using relatively simple injectors and valves. Liquid hydrogen is in the same ballpark, but is a ******* to store.

Batteries simply cannot achieve this energy density and remain 1) reliable and 2) stable. The physics is somewhat against them: a tank of petrol simply needs a tank. A battery needs the case, plates, separators and electrolyte - and in between all that lot we can try and stash the chemicals that store energy.

Sure, batteries are already good enough for me to run a second car. Just like it is perfectly sensible to have a humongous V12 in the garage as a week-end toy. It would be very nice to have a Tesla in the garage for local trips, but it could not reliably be my daily driver. So I now need two cars - not sure of the environmental benefit of doing that.

On this process, it may well work, but it is likely to be staggeringly inefficient. However, if it matured at the same time that fusion became a reality (always 50 years from now)....then it would be quite useful.

With you all the way on aviation fuel. Having said that there are already small electric planes.

Battery technology of proven types is leaking into the system across the board. Home computers with relatively ineffcient processors/power supplies are being ousted by laptops and smaller devices. Garden machinery is slowly switching over to battery from corded electric (and petrol) to battery powered, not just the consumer end but higher up as well where the cost is offset by reliability, lower noise and emmissions.

The environmental benefit of two cars - one electric and one gas - after a while you will probably leave the gas one in the garage unless you want to go on really longer journeys. Love to the see the stats for how many long journeys have been cut since the petrol price has mushroomed.

Doesn't even matter how efficient the process becomes, it is a nonsense as at the end the ic engine is running at 20% efficiency when an electric motor can run at around 80%.

There have been a small band of people running electric cars over long durations for years, on sod all budgets compared to anything like a mid-size main manufacturer program, if they can do it there are not really any major hurdles in the way.

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On the batteries front - I thought digging lithium out of the ground was very expensive, with battery life quite limited etc.

Don't want to be too much of a downer on the batteries front, but the advantage of the suggested CO2 scheme is that we can stick with the existing fleet and infrastructure.

Either way, we need nuclear, u-235 or thorium. 15 years post-Kyoto, and no new nuclear stations in the UK. Shocking.

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On the batteries front - I thought digging lithium out of the ground was very expensive, with battery life quite limited etc.

Don't want to be too much of a downer on the batteries front, but the advantage of the suggested CO2 scheme is that we can stick with the existing fleet and infrastructure.

Either way, we need nuclear, u-235 or thorium. 15 years post-Kyoto, and no new nuclear stations in the UK. Shocking.

Worse, we haven't seen the bill to decommission the old knackers yet.

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On the batteries front - I thought digging lithium out of the ground was very expensive, with battery life quite limited etc.

Don't want to be too much of a downer on the batteries front, but the advantage of the suggested CO2 scheme is that we can stick with the existing fleet and infrastructure.

Either way, we need nuclear, u-235 or thorium. 15 years post-Kyoto, and no new nuclear stations in the UK. Shocking.

Pretty much all the lead in supply is recycled.

The lithium in a lithium battery doesn't go away so if the future were lithium based (or any other metal for that matter) it would just be recycled too.

Either way as you say we need an electricity supply. But, using electricity to generate liquid fuel I still content is total nonsense.

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Would love to hear the workings behind the last statement.

Well, if the Abiotic oil people are correct and we cannot run out of oil then the accumulation rate of oil in the subsurface must be in the same ballpark as our current extraction rate.

Therefore the rate at which oil escapes from subsurface structures and leaks to the surface would have been similar before the oil industry was ever invented.

This oil would have to be oxidized to CO2, or we'd be up to our eyeballs in it.

This would deplete that atmosphere of oxygen in a geological eyeblink (~2 million years) - faster than any feasable way of renewing it.

And if you don't believe this, then consider that if this Abiotic oil really existed, then the refusal to use it would be costing western oil companies money. And this may surprise you, but BP, Shell, Exxon et al really, really like money.

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Yes, if you don't mind paying £30,000+ for a Vauxhall Astra.

Actually a Chevy Cruze, but your point is valid.

They do need to make the batteries cheaper....

Though you should consider it as just paying for your fuel in advance (electricity being almost free compared to petrol)

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Why? Do you regulaly need to drive more than 100 miles in a day? And can't spare 15 mins for an 80% fast charge*?

*admittedly not many at the moment

Ok then why not get when of these?

Yes, I occasionally drive more than 100 miles in a day. Not every day, but often enough that I would need another car in addition to an electric one. Simple example: for the last 3 weeks, I have been doing 100 miles a day, not much fun, but that is where the work was. Unless I had a charging point at the far end, then electric is a non starter, and simply finding somewhere to park the car was bad enough, finding a charging point would have been even worse. Last year I drove to Spain - 1000 miles in a day, 2 drivers taking shifts. How would you do that in an electric car? (OK, I get it, you'd take several days to do it).

Why don't I drive an Ampera? As someone else has said, it costs £30K and is a shit car. I'd rather get a really nice second hand car for £12K (that cost £30K a few years ago) and buy diesel with the change. Until diesel costs £3 a litre, there is no point in getting an electric car.

Interestingly, I just looked at an Autocar review of the Ampera. They got 54 mpg over a week. In my very nice 260HP diesel, I get 45 mpg if I am being sensible, or 40 if I drive like my hair is on fire. Those differences are simply not compelling.

The environmental benefit of two cars - one electric and one gas - after a while you will probably leave the gas one in the garage unless you want to go on really longer journeys. Love to the see the stats for how many long journeys have been cut since the petrol price has mushroomed.

That is a slightly different argument. If the option is electric car or walking, then electric cars will become more popular. At the moment, people buying electric cars are buying them solely for novelty value - there is no economic case at all.

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Yes, I occasionally drive more than 100 miles in a day. Not every day, but often enough that I would need another car in addition to an electric one. Simple example: for the last 3 weeks, I have been doing 100 miles a day, not much fun, but that is where the work was. Unless I had a charging point at the far end, then electric is a non starter, and simply finding somewhere to park the car was bad enough, finding a charging point would have been even worse. Last year I drove to Spain - 1000 miles in a day, 2 drivers taking shifts. How would you do that in an electric car? (OK, I get it, you'd take several days to do it).

Why don't I drive an Ampera? As someone else has said, it costs £30K and is a shit car. I'd rather get a really nice second hand car for £12K (that cost £30K a few years ago) and buy diesel with the change. Until diesel costs £3 a litre, there is no point in getting an electric car.

Interestingly, I just looked at an Autocar review of the Ampera. They got 54 mpg over a week. In my very nice 260HP diesel, I get 45 mpg if I am being sensible, or 40 if I drive like my hair is on fire. Those differences are simply not compelling.

That is a slightly different argument. If the option is electric car or walking, then electric cars will become more popular. At the moment, people buying electric cars are buying them solely for novelty value - there is no economic case at all.

Let's be realistic here.

Driving 1000 miles to Spain is hardly a common car usage scenario, is it ?

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Let's be realistic here.

Driving 1000 miles to Spain is hardly a common car usage scenario, is it ?

Exactly But all the arguments do show how most people just hate "change" just like all the Nimbys.

Let's do a thought experiment. Everybody has been driving electric cars for 100 years and someone invents the ICE.

"So you're saying i can't recharge it at home. I have to go to something called a "petrol station" every few days an hand over £60-£100 to recharge it? And i'm filling it up with smelly liquid that's highly dangerous and flammable? And it pumps out toxic fumes for everybody to inhale? And i have to "change gears" because the engine can only go at certain revs? And the acceleration from 0mph is rubbish? And it emits a horrible grumbling noise.... Why did you invent this again?"

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You boys that say a decent cheap fast-charging energy-dense battery is all we need....

True, but a bit like saying all I need to fly is wings and an adequate power-to-weight ratio.

There are lots of projects regarding batteries out there, nothing much is on the market though, most of it is vapourware for one reason or another. About double the efficiency/density of the best lithium-ions for 40% of the price is what we need - could be decades away.

This petrol synthesis tech looks potentially useful when attached to the output from(say) a fossil fuels power station - pretty easy to get CO2 there, nice warm reactive CO2 as well.

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Using electricity (and other expensively produced chemicals that require massive energy inputs) to produce a liquid fuel substitute is b o l l u x.

Battery technology is already higly efficient.

Electric motors are amazingly efficient, far more so than any IC engine.

Speed, torque and power electric control systems are amazingly efficient compared to ANY mechanical equivalent.

CHarging systems and batteries capable of fast charging are improving all the time, as are energy desnity, peak discharge rates.

We do not need a liquid fuel substitute.

So why has the greatest white goods car manufacturer drooped the electric car? Toyota

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You boys that say a decent cheap fast-charging energy-dense battery is all we need....

True, but a bit like saying all I need to fly is wings and an adequate power-to-weight ratio.

There are lots of projects regarding batteries out there, nothing much is on the market though, most of it is vapourware for one reason or another. About double the efficiency/density of the best lithium-ions for 40% of the price is what we need - could be decades away.

Depends.. in the urban/suburban commute and runabout segment, electric cars are better in every way - petrol cars suffer from lots of short journeys, electric cars don't care. There it's all about getting the cost down.

General purpose cars are still a ways off, yes.

This petrol synthesis tech looks potentially useful when attached to the output from(say) a fossil fuels power station - pretty easy to get CO2 there, nice warm reactive CO2 as well.

Or you could just FT-synthesize diesel directly from coal for a fraction of the cost and energy use.

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Actually a Chevy Cruze, but your point is valid.

They do need to make the batteries cheaper....

Though you should consider it as just paying for your fuel in advance (electricity being almost free compared to petrol)

Nope, electricity is probably a similar price to petrol before tax. If elecetric cars became viable tomorrow what do you think to the price advantage?

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