Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Solar powered carbon dioxide derived fuel

The search goes on for alternative sources of fuel once the "oil runs out" (mind you there have been some recent big finds off the coast of Brazil showing that oil might be around for awhile yet). Now this latest alternative sounds like a wet dream : using solar power to turn carbon dioxide into fuel!

US government Sandia scientists have developed what they call the Counter Rotating Ring Receiver Reactor Recuperator (CR5). This uses sunlight to turn CO2 into carbon monoxide. This is then mixed with water to produce hydrogen and CO2, and that CO2 is in turn converted back into carbon monoxide. This is then mixed with the hydrogen to create syngas. This can then be converted into a heavy paraffin wax which can then be refined into fuel using conventional refinery methods. There you go, easy.

This process is said to be "a good 15 to 20 years away from being on the market".

References :

"Jet fuel from solar-powered carbon disassociation process possible, say scientists" - Flight International
"'Huge' gas field found off Brazil" - BBC News

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