Until we live in a society dominated by hydrogen and electric vehicles, new bio-fuel and carbon capture technologies can help us lower our dependence on fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon Sciences Inc., this week announced a breakthrough in their technology to recycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into gasoline, that will shorten the time to commercialization and reduce the operating costs of its CO2-to-Fuel technology.
Dr. Naveed Aslam, chief technology officer of Carbon Sciences, has discovered a highly scalable way to transform large quantities of CO2 into gasoline including the of use flue emissions directly from coal-fired power plants or industrial factories.
Elaborating on the business implications of this new breakthrough, Byron Elton, CEO of Carbon Sciences, said, “The United Nations’ IPCC estimates that the cost of simply capturing CO2 for applications, such as underground sequestration or transformation into products, can range from $45 to $73 per ton of CO2. This cost is perhaps the single biggest economic barrier to any large-scale CO2 applications, such as carbon sequestration.” He added, “Unlike biofuels based on growing plants to absorb CO2 from the air, our CO2-to-Fuel process is an industrial process that can produce fuel in minutes to hours, not months to years, to meet the demands of the world.”
Carbon Sciences likely would license its technology to oil refiners, which emit large amounts of CO2 and have the expertise and infrastructure to produce gasoline, Derek McLeish, the company’s founder, told USA Today last year. Coal plants and concrete makers, which are big CO2 producers would likely have to install the technology to capture it. The company expects a commercial deployment by 2011.
Although the captured CO2 ultimately would be emitted again through tailpipes, it would displace new oil, which would reduce carbon emissions. David Doniger, policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, was said in the USA Today article that such technology would be better for the environment than burning new fossil fuels. “But he would prefer to capture CO2 from coal plants and store it underground — technology that’s at least a decade away — and shift from gasoline-fueled cars to electric vehicles supplied by wind or solar energy.”