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Scientists produce “petrol from air”
According to a report by The Independent newspaper, a small British company has produced “petrol from air”.
Normal hydrocarbons are produced from elements present in the atmosphere using innovative new technology that has the potential to address energy crisis issues and cut global warming.
It’s a miracle, you might be thinking? But actually, the process removes carbon dioxide and water vapour (two of the main greenhouse gases) from the ether, creating petrol – literally – out of thin air.
Air Fuel Synthesis – based in Stockton-on-Tees in the northeast of England – has already produced five litres of gasoline since August when the firm initiated production at its small refinery.
Five litres obviously isn’t going to fuel a nation, however – it might not even get your car 50 miles. But in two years the company hopes it will be able to commercially roll out the technology on a much grander scale, producing a tonne of petrol per day. Still not the millions of barrels the world needs, but it’s a start.
Full-scale refinery operations similar to that producing the nation’s fuel today are being proposed within the next 15 years; a relatively short timeframe given the intricate nature of the technology.
Air Fuel Synthesis also has plans to produce ‘green’ aviation fuel, reducing the carbon footprint of air travel.
Speaking to The Independent, head of energy and the environment at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Tim Fox 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. 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-established components but what is exciting is that they have put the whole thing together and shown that it can work.”
The product looks and smells like conventional petrol but is much cleaner and clearer than the fossil-derived fuel.
Chief Executive of Air Fuel Synthesis Peter Harrsion believes the technology could be the cure for rapidly depleting oil resources.
“People could go on to a garage forecourt and put our product into their car without having to install batteries or adapt the vehicle for fuel cells or having hydrogen tanks fitted. It means that the existing infrastructure for transport can be used.”
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