Cheap Petrol?

#1
Seen this and if they can produce enough Petrol it could be one solution to the Energy of the future question.


A small British company has produced the first "petrol from air" using a revolutionary technology that promises to solve the energy crisis as well as helping to curb global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Read more: Scientists turn fresh air into petrol: is breakthrough a milestone on the road to clean energy? - Environment, News - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
#3
Is it? It's certainly a scientific possibility: CO2 + H20 + energy = Hydrocarbons + oxygen.

Of course it's the energy that's the issue in the first place, but the sensible way around this is to use renewables: if you can make the reaction work using direct heat as an energy source then solar is a possibility. Not in the UK of course, but you simply want somewhere with:
1)Good weather
2) Lots of water
3) Lots of air
3 is pretty much a given which means all that you need is 1 and 2 together, which probably means the seaside somewhere.
 
#5
The only problem is, it's bollocks.
This guy seems to think it's true.

Tim Fox, head of energy and the environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London, said: "It sounds too good to be true, but it is true. They are doing it and I've been up there myself and seen it
 
#6
Is it? It's certainly a scientific possibility: CO2 + H20 + energy = Hydrocarbons + oxygen.

Of course it's the energy that's the issue in the first place, but the sensible way around this is to use renewables: if you can make the reaction work using direct heat as an energy source then solar is a possibility. Not in the UK of course, but you simply want somewhere with:
1)Good weather
2) Lots of water
3) Lots of air
3 is pretty much a given which means all that you need is 1 and 2 together, which probably means the seaside somewhere.
They're talking about its use in island communities.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Is it? It's certainly a scientific possibility: CO2 + H20 + energy = Hydrocarbons + oxygen.

Of course it's the energy that's the issue in the first place, but the sensible way around this is to use renewables: if you can make the reaction work using direct heat as an energy source then solar is a possibility. Not in the UK of course, but you simply want somewhere with:
1)Good weather
2) Lots of water
3) Lots of air
3 is pretty much a given which means all that you need is 1 and 2 together, which probably means the seaside somewhere.
If you're going to allow these assumptions and disregard cost, you may as well go down the green hydrogen route where the only by-product is water and the technology is far more advanced. The problem is that the assumptions are not givens and cost is a limiting factor. Also, while we have the world's supply of shale gas, there's no chance of running out of transport fuels because the FT at the heart of this process has more commercially viable applications.
 
#8
Got to be a better alternative to this.
 

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FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
This guy seems to think it's true.
But he's a mechanical engineer and the guys who understand this stuff are chemical engineers. There's a huge difference between clever chemistry in the lab (five litres production in three months) and producing on a commercial scale (probably 1 million bpd just to move the needle). At the heart of their process is FT/GTL technology which is currently commercial only under very specific circumstances, mainly in Qatar. Add to that the huge energy requirement for the front end (and heaven knows what the LCA for that level of generation capacity is) with the associated costs and this technology is off the ballpark.
 
#10
If you're going to allow these assumptions and disregard cost, you may as well go down the green hydrogen route where the only by-product is water and the technology is far more advanced. The problem is that the assumptions are not givens and cost is a limiting factor. Also, while we have the world's supply of shale gas, there's no chance of running out of transport fuels because the FT at the heart of this process has more commercially viable applications.
Cost is - of course - going to be the deciding factor at the end of the day, but petrol is better than hydrogen in a number of ways. It's less dangerous, easier to store, doesn't require major changes to existing engines or supply infrastructure and gives you more power for a given quantity of air (this is an issue with hydrogen-powered/petrol engines - they all produce about half the horsepower on H as they do on petrol). If the economics work out then synthetic petrol is the way forward.
 
#11
Well, it can certainly be done on a lab scale, but doing it on an industrial scale and cheaply is a different matter.

You'd need to use renewable energy to power it, but there is another catch. If you've got renewable energy sources be it wind, wave or whatever, then if you are using it to produce artificial petrol you cannot be using it to feed the National Grid. That means you have to burn more fossil fuel in conventional power stations to meet the load. So you still end up using a fossil fuel....

It is an interesting development, but that ain't the same thing as a new energy source that is free. Research is often funded by grants that run for a fixed and limited amount of time. I wonder if this news is linked to a researcher somewhere who needs a bit of goood publicity to back up a grant application? Wouldn't be the first time.
 
#12
Slightly off thread but perhaps pertinent ... requires water ... and we are an island ... wonder whatever happened to Project ZETA in the 1950's and was to give almost limitless clean energy supplies using sea water ? ... the question was rhetorical ... just needs another rolling 20 years to completely develop .
 
#13
Slightly off thread but perhaps pertinent ... requires water ... and we are an island ... wonder whatever happened to Project ZETA in the 1950's and was to give almost limitless clean energy supplies using sea water ? ... the question was rhetorical ... just needs another rolling 20 years to completely develop .

Project Zeta..... That dates back to when I was..... tiny. I've not heard owt about it for about 40 years, but it was early research into nuclear fusion in a reactor as opposed to fission. Much greater energy source, think H-Bomb v A-Bomb. Problem is containing the immense temperatures magnetically.

Of course, we won't need petrol at all, just as soon as Ford get their Nucleon car into production....

Ford Nucleon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
Cost is - of course - going to be the deciding factor at the end of the day, but petrol is better than hydrogen in a number of ways. It's less dangerous, easier to store, doesn't require major changes to existing engines or supply infrastructure and gives you more power for a given quantity of air (this is an issue with hydrogen-powered/petrol engines - they all produce about half the horsepower on H as they do on petrol). If the economics work out then synthetic petrol is the way forward.
Synthetic diesel is even better - and we know how to do that using natural gas.
 
#15
Which is all well and good, but natural gas is a finite resource and isn't carbon neutral, which is sort of the point of this idea.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
Which is all well and good, but natural gas is a finite resource and isn't carbon neutral, which is sort of the point of this idea.
Gas the cleanest of the hydrocarbons, the production process is commercially proven and there's enough of it for the next century and a half to tide us over whilst other technologies are being developed - even electric drives are further along than this stuff. Also, the 'green' credentials of this fuel are entirely dependent on the electricity source which, given technology into the forseeable future, means nuclear or nothing.
 
#17
The people developing this have been turning down funding from the petro-chemical giants to ensure that the tech is actually researched properly rather than being taken over then binned.

Excellent British research, good luck to them.
 
#19
I saw an article on Top Gear with James May a while back where they were using hydrogen. I thought that may have caught on as it is never going to run out.
 
#20
I'll bet the ******* will still tax it so much it'll continue to cost us £100 to fill up the family car................
You're right about the taxation, every thing is taxed. But what happens when you have a commodity that isn't going to run out for the next 30k years or so is you get price stability. When I passed my test in 1990 I think petrol was 47p a litre. The price goes up as the stock goes down. At some point the price of extracting oil/gas/shale (shale has huge enviromental set backs) will equal the cost of producing this 'fuel from air'.

Price stability feeds back through the system calming everything down. No more speculation, futures markets, stock market posh boys bankrupting ordinary bods.

Go for it and nice one for not taking the funding money from BP, Shell, Exon and all the rest of the sharks that'll bin it for their profits.
 
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