Exclusive: The scientists who turned fresh air into petrol

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posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 08:40 AM
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reply to post by boncho
 


Now i'm not saying this would make it economically viable but the exothermic reaction from sodium hydroxide with water could be used to generate heating for the fischer-Tropsch reactions later on and increase the cost-efficiency of the whole process.




posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 09:13 AM
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Originally posted by LanceonW
reply to post by boncho
 


Now i'm not saying this would make it economically viable but the exothermic reaction from sodium hydroxide with water could be used to generate heating for the fischer-Tropsch reactions later on and increase the cost-efficiency of the whole process.


The low grade heat from NaOH dissolution won't do much of anything. One problem with this scheme [which has been proposed many times before in many variations] is the use of a strong base to capture CO2. This is an immediate disadvantage, energetically and economically. Ethanolamine and similar compounds can capture CO2 from the air and CO2 is more easily released from these compounds, saving a great deal of energy. Electrolysis is expensive.
The F-T variant requires huge capital investments as an F-T plant operating efficiently makes waxes which must then be cracked and isomerized to Jet and Diesel, among other things. These folks didn't want to spend billions on an F-T plant so they proposed making methanol and then using the ExxonMobil MTG process to make gasoline. This technology does not require a refinery and is selective in the products it makes. DKRW found this out and went from F-T to MTG for their proposed plant using coal gasification.



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 09:20 AM
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reply to post by pteridine
 


True but i was thinking large scale, there aint no point in doing it if it can't be scaled up. As far as FT goes you could just use high temp FT with a fluid bed reactor. Although MTG is better for producing petrol and other fuels it still requires hydrocracking/hydrotreating before the products can be used for petrol
edit on 19/10/12 by LanceonW because: adding a bit extra



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 09:33 AM
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reply to post by ollncasino
 


There seems to be space to lots of optimizations like capturing the CO2 directly from a CO2 producing source in place of atmospheric air.



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 09:59 AM
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It wouldn't matter if you needed a nuclear power station to run it if you could get a decent amount of energy back out. If it can be made cost effective it would take away our reliance of arab states for fuel.



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by ollncasino

One downside however is that the process requires electricity, suggesting that it may be merely transforming one source of energy into a different form,
edit on 19-10-2012 by ollncasino because: (no reason given)


That's not really a "downside". ALL energy "production" is merely transforming one source of energy into a different form. The Law of the Conservation of Mass dictates (assuming that we are only using Classical and Relativistic physics, of course) that neither matter nor energy can every be truly "created" or "destroyed" per se, but rather that it only changes form.

Thus when you burn coal, those dead dinosaurs and plant matter are essentially acting as a "battery" for solar energy from the Jurassic. When you burn ethanol you are simply using corn as the "battery" and the ethanol itself is merely "corn with the impurities taken out" so to speak. Just like gasoline is refined from petroleum.

Indeed, with the exception of nuclear power and geothermal, virtually ALL energy production on planet earth is driven ultimately by the Sun. Wind, hydroelectric, coal, oil, natural gas, wood stoves...you name it. Although, I suppose it would be fair to state that tidal production is one part solar and one part lunar. The earth's hydrosphere is dependent upon the Sun because otherwise all of our water would be ice...but it IS the moon's gravitational pull which pulls the tidal currents around.

What humanity needs MOST of all is a super kick^ss battery. To date, liquid fuels have proven to me the best "batteries" around in terms of their energy density (energy/volume) and their overall portability. The downside to them all is that each and every liquid fuel that is stable at room temperature requires LAND in order to produce...and usually land that is either inconveniently located in the Middle East or which could/should be used for food production instead. ANY technology that allows us to produce a relatively standard liquid fuel (gasoline, ethanol, methanol, or pentaborane) WITHOUT being dependent upon controlling just the right type of geography is a HUGE WIN.

Even better, this is one technology that the oil companies will have a REAL bitch of a time in thwarting assuming the inventors don't just sell the patent to Exxon-Mobile....which I actually find somewhat doubtful. I'm guessing there is far more money in licensing said patent out, as opposed to a one-time transaction.

It's easy to keep claiming that fuel cells aren't practical because of the "infrastructure" when all those gas stations simply refuse to install hydrogen tanks. It's easy to say that ethanol isn't a "good" solution when you are forced to choose only between standard gasoline and E-85...which of course often necessites buying a newer "flexfuel" vehicle. Never mind the fact that 99% of the vehicles currently on the road (for the most part anything made since the late '80's/ early '90's can run anywhere between a 50%-75% ethanol blend w/ ZERO problems and a VERY negligible loss of gas mileage. In Brazil the law states that all pumps allow the user to set the percentage of ethanol manually to make sure they use as LITTLE imported and/or non-renewable fuel as possible...there is NO REASON we couldn't give people that same choice here.

But...if it's possible to synthesize gasoline from thin air...then there is NOTHING AT ALL stopping you from putting it in your tank. Even better...the whole "15 years away from refinery-scale" production might be the BEST thing about it. Some things become a lot cheaper on a massive scale...but some things become more expensive. Personally, I hope that the "sweet spot" cost/production capacity comes out in a small to midsize form. While it probably isn't very realistic for everyone to have one of these units in their garage...imagine how awesome things would be if you had a BUNCH of smaller scale companies in every city in America. Imagine if instead of 5 oil companies in the world...there were five right in your TOWN. The competition would be fierce, the revenue generated would be local, and most cities have all kinds of empty and rotting industrial space which could be repurposed and put to good use again.

This is a beautiful, beautiful thing.



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 11:00 AM
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I think he may be onto something. Anyway, I wish him luck and I think he's very courageous to tackle the oil companies. I hope he makes a real go of this. Good on him! Also very proud he's English!
edit on 19-10-2012 by Alien44 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 12:27 PM
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Hopefully this guy's designs don't work perfectly; he might be so excited by his discovery that he inexplicably hangs himself with a belt or has a "heart attack."
edit on 19-10-2012 by jeantherapy because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 12:53 PM
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reply to post by jeantherapy
 


cheery to say the least. I hope you're saying it will appear that way!



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 01:13 PM
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Theres a US navy project to manufacture aviation fuel from seawater, i guess its on similar lines.

www.cnbc.com...

The point I think isn't that its a new energy source its that it gives an ability to translate renewable energy to transport use without having to massively alter a lot of infrastructure.

This good for energy independence and for green energy producers. Not so good for electric vehicle champions.

Theres another project to store energy by using excess renewable energy at low demand times to create liquid nitrogen. Its another idea endorsed by the IMechE.

cleantechnica.com...



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 01:16 PM
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Originally posted by boncho

The process involves air being blown into a tower containing sodium hydroxide which reacts with carbon dioxide in the air, forming sodium carbonate. Electricity is then used to release the carbon dioxide, which is stored. With me so far?


Sodium hydroxide creates a nasty exothermic reaction simply mixing with water. There are chemical bonds just dying to release their energy. And when used for something like this, one has to account how much energy is being produced by the hydroxide. Even worse, is they are still going to use electricity afterward.

With me so far?

This sounds like a total waste of time...


I'm far from being a chemist, but could the heat from the "nasty exothermic reaction" be captured by running water through tubing/piping through out the NaOH and then using that heat to create steam? The steam could then be used to turn a generator to help supplement the power requirements for the rest of the processing.



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 01:16 PM
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This could be a game changer here in the US.

One of the problems with wind turbines is that the best places to put them are pretty far from areas that need power.

So you could have wind farms that power this technology producing gasoline.

That would drive down the cost of gas a lot.



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 01:37 PM
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a rather silly gimmick - that uses several unessescary levels of complexity [ and energy consumption ] to " capture " carbon - a task that bio-mass cultivation achieves at far higher efficiency levels .
if they are using electrolysis to generate hydrogen - it should be used directly as fuel - a process that has a carbon footprint exclusivly based on the mode of electricity generation

the process they propose is the most energy intensive method of hydrocarbon synthesis imaginable - and only an option if there is no other way of producing hydrocarbons



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 02:12 PM
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Originally posted by LanceonW
reply to post by pteridine
 


True but i was thinking large scale, there aint no point in doing it if it can't be scaled up. As far as FT goes you could just use high temp FT with a fluid bed reactor. Although MTG is better for producing petrol and other fuels it still requires hydrocracking/hydrotreating before the products can be used for petrol.


Actually, it doesn't. Alkylation is used to boost the gasoline yield from about 60% to 88% of total HC production in a fluidized bed pilot plant. The plant, operating at 400-425C, can provide useful steam from the heat of reaction [the product stream is 43.5% HC's and 56% water. The other 0.5% is unreacted MeOH/DME 0.2%, coke and other 0.2%, and 0.1% CO/CO2.]
The processing is far less complicated and less expensive than an F-T plant.

See Bob Meyer's Handbook of Synfuels Technology for the process details.
edit on 10/19/2012 by pteridine because: book title



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 02:55 PM
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I am intrigued, but only mildly optimistic. Here’s a bit more about their technology…

The “petrol from air” technology involves taking sodium hydroxide and mixing it with carbon dioxide before "electrolysing" the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide.
Hydrogen is then produced by electrolysing water vapour captured with a dehumidifier. www.telegraph.co.uk...


Cost Effectiveness…
Electricity costs around 10 pence a kilowatt hour i.e. 10 pence per 3.6 Meagre Joules.
A litre of gasoline has around 35 MJ’s
en.wikipedia.org...
So assuming their technology was 100% efficient this would work out at fuel costing 97.22 pence a litre –which sounds affordable until you realise the price we pay is 60% tax www.lovemoney.com...

Of course we are talking much more than 97.22 pence a litre, when one considers electrolysis is between 50-80%, so I’d estimate (best case) we’re talking 60% efficiency overall.
That means the production cost of our litre becomes £1.55 a litre, and then when you factor in equipment investment-labour costs, this really is the bare minimum.

Nevertheless…
Page 20 of 50 governments latest cost estimates of UK electricity production.
Nuclear is cheapest at 7.41 pence a kilowatt hour
www.decc.gov.uk... and has the advantage of being immune to fossil fuel price hikes caused by world markets (the cost of nuclear fuel is very, very small).

So by building production near a power station, this wholesale price reduces our £1.55 per litre cost, to £1.14 a litre.
Furthermore: By using surplus, off-peak electricity (be it green or nuclear) it may be possible to obtain electricity for more like 5-6 pence a kilowatt hour. This means the fuel would cost only 77.5 -93 pence a litre respectively!!! That’s easily competitive, especially as the world oil price would otherwise increase indefinitely.

So it actually has hope!!!



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 03:11 PM
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reply to post by pteridine
 


Ok i'll take your word for it, i dont know a whole great deal about MTG and exxonmobil site claimed it was needed for both. I only really know about GTL via FT because my company make catalysts for it. I'll see if we have the book in work library sometime next week
edit on 19/10/12 by LanceonW because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 03:40 PM
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When will some one just invent a ZMP?


There has to be a way to harness energy with quantum physics?



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 03:44 PM
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reply to post by ollncasino
 


If you need to add sodium hydroxide.
Then it is not made from air..

It was too good to be true...



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 04:05 PM
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CO2 isnt bad, its what plants and trees breathe. I suppose a reduction wouldnt hurt any, as long as we dont draw too much CO2 out of the air.



posted on Oct, 19 2012 @ 04:46 PM
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as long as they sell if for $5 a gallon and become part of the oil companies gas price fixing scheme, i predict a bright profitable future for this company if its true, and not some "mysterious" accident.





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