A small British firm has come out with a revolutionary new technology that can create synthetic petrol using only air and electricity. Experts have hailed the astonishing breakthrough as a potential “game-changer” in the battle against climate change and a saviour for the world’s energy crisis, the Telegraph reported. The technology, developed by the company, Air Fuel Syndication, in the north of England and presented to a London engineering conference this week, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 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. The company then uses the carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methanol, which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol. According to Company officials, they had produced five litres of petrol in less than three months from a small refinery in Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside. The fuel that is produced can be used in any regular petrol tank and, if renewable energy is used to provide the electricity it could become “completely carbon neutral”.
The 1.1mn-dollar project, in development for the past two years, is being funded by a group of unnamed philanthropists who believe the technology could prove to be a lucrative way of creating renewable energy. While the technology has the backing of Britain’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers, it has yet to capture the interest of major oil companies. But company executives hope to build a large plant, which could produce more than a tonne of petrol every day, within two years and a refinery size operation within the next 15 years.
While the describing the technology as being “too good to be true but it is true” Tonight Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) officials admitted that it could prove to be a “game-changer” in the battle against climate change. Stephen Tetlow, the IMechE chief executive, hailed the breakthrough as “truly groundbreaking”. “It has the potential to become a great British success story, which opens up a crucial opportunity to reduce carbon emissions. It also has the potential to reduce our exposure to an increasingly volatile global energy market,” he said. Peter Harrison, the company’s 58 year-old chief executive, told The Daily Telegraph that he was “excited” about the technology’s potential, which “uses renewable energy in a slightly different way”. “People do find it unusual when I tell them what we are working on and realise what it means,” said Harrison, a civil engineer from Darlington, Co Durham. “It is an opportunity for a technology to make an impact on climate change and make an impact on the energy crisis facing this country and the world. It looks and smells like petrol but it is much cleaner and we don’t have any nasty bits,” he stated.