14 February 2008

CO2 to Gasoline: More on Green Freedom

More details about the Los Alamos Lab's Green Freedom (pdf) CO2 to Fuels project are revealed at Green Car Congress.
While the chemistry of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can be straightforward (CO2 is readily absorbed into a potassium carbonate solution where it forms bicarbonate ions), the challenge in developing a practical system lies in the large volumes of air that would need to be processed to capture sufficient amounts of CO2 for useful application. Furthermore, according to the Los Alamos team, the conventional processing can only capture 73% of the carbon dioxide from the processed air on a single pass.

By contrast, Green Freedom uses a newly-developed electrolytic stripping process that can capture production quantities of air; capture more than 95% of the carbon dioxide on a single pass; and produces hydrogen as a byproduct that reduces supplemental hydrogen production requirements by 33%.
Read the full PDF report here.

The bottom line? The price of gasoline at the pump would need to be US $4.60 per gallon for the process to be profitable. The calculation assumes the incorporation of a nuclear reactor to provide electricity for the process.

Update: Snake Oil Baron was kind enough to provide the link to this UCLA research on CO2 trapping using zeolidic imidozolate frameworks (ZIFs).
"For each liter of ZIF, you can hold 83 liters of carbon dioxide," Banerjee said.... Zeolites are stable, porous minerals made of aluminum, silicon and oxygen that are employed in petroleum refining and are used in detergents and other products. Yaghi's group has succeeded in replacing what would have been aluminum or silicon with metal ions like zinc and cobalt, and the bridging oxygen with imidazolate to yield ZIF materials, whose structures can now be designed in functionality and metrics. ___Physorg
Very intriguing indeed. Thanks Baron!

When we burn fossil fuels and utilise biomass and biofuels, we are taking advantage of nature's ability to turn CO2 into fuel. What scientists at Los Alamos, Sandia, ELCAT, etc are trying to do is to go cleanly from CO2 to gasoline or diesel, without involving life forms.

As better CO2 air capture methods are developed, the economics of CO2-to-gasoline should improve. No one wants to pay $4.60 per gallon at the pump, but when that becomes the norm, it would be nice to know that the gasoline you are burning was made locally, out of thin air.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

I just saw another story about CO2 capturing materials. So much for CO2 being labeled a pollutant. It seems more like a resource.

Thursday, 14 February, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks, Baron. I updated the post to include your ink.

Thursday, 14 February, 2008  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

Not to mention essential for plant growth.

Saturday, 16 February, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Right, SW. Plants and algae (for biodiesel and biopetroleum) love CO2.

And Baron, I did not really include your ink, but rather your link.
;-)

Saturday, 16 February, 2008  

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