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Scientists Find Cheap Way To Suck Air And Make It Into Fuel

A Canadian clean energy company and its founder who is a Harvard Professor say that they have developed an affordable way to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and convert it into clean fuels.

Carbon Engineering—a privately owned company funded by private investors, including Bill Gates and Murray Edwards—published an article describing its research in the scientific journal Joule on Thursday.

Carbon Engineering founder and Harvard Professor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, David Keith, and his colleagues say that they have demonstrated for the first time a scalable and cost-effective solution for removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Not only are the scientists sucking CO2 out of the air, but they are also commercializing a process which uses water electrolysis and fuels synthesis to produce clean liquid hydrocarbon fuels that are drop-in compatible with existing transportation infrastructure.

“Our clean fuel is fully compatible with existing engines, so it provides the transportation sector with a solution for significantly reducing emissions, either through blending or direct use. Our technology is scalable, flexible and demonstrated. Today, we’re actively seeking partners who will work with CE to dramatically reduce emissions in the transportation sector and help us move to a carbon-neutral economy,” Steve Oldham, chief executive of Carbon Engineering, said.

Previous research and studies into direct air capture (DAC) have suggested that removing a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere would cost US$600, which is too expensive to be a feasible solution, Keith said.

Related: Was This Just A Temporary Pullback In Oil?

“At CE, we’ve been working on direct air capture since 2009, running our pilot plant since 2015, and we now have the data and engineering to prove that DAC can achieve costs below $100USD per ton. No prior research in the peer-reviewed literature provides a design and engineering cost for a complete DAC system– and this paper fills that gap,” he added.

Keith and the Carbon Engineering team have raised about US$30 million so far, and their next step will be to raise funding for a plant that can deliver fuels to market. This will depend on finding a renewable power supplier willing to supply low-price high-capacity power and incentives for low-carbon fuels, The Harvard Gazette reports.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Jeff Holloway on June 11 2018 said:
    ....or we could plant a tree.
  • Laura Metcaffe on June 11 2018 said:
    At the $100 per ton for recovery of CO2 have they also factored in the various incentives and trades available for CO2. For example a heavy polluter could pay them for their unused carbon credits. This of course is very specific to jurisdiction, since it is a law of politics, not science, but it is very real dollars.
  • Mario on June 11 2018 said:
    They forgot to mention the process uses hydrogen as the fuel to remove the CO2. If I'm not mistaken, the most common hydrogen production process is natural gas reforming. So the hole process is still highly dependent of the Hydrocarbons in the first place.
  • Ronald C Wagner on June 10 2018 said:
    In other words, it will take a lot of subsidies to use carbon, that is not really a threat, from the atmosphere.
  • Nathan Meehan on June 08 2018 said:
    Hello! Did the author read the report or just summarize summaries? Where are you going to cheaply get HYDROGEN on the scale needed to accomplish this?

    Serious lack of analysis

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