I don\’t know enough chemistry to know whether this makes sense. Even if The Telegraph has or has not garbled it:
A small company in the north of England has developed the “air capture” technology to create synthetic petrol using only air and electricity.
Experts tonight 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 technology, 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, Air Fuel Syndication, then uses the carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methanol which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol.
Methanol to petrol I can accept as being obviously possible. No idea at all about the previous step, the sodium hydroxide to sodium carbonate.
And electrolysing H2 out of water is going to be an expensive process even if we know that it can be done.
Further, the use of sodium hydroxide will be interesting. As that is produced by the chloralkali process. Which in itself is hugely energy intensive (it\’s essentially the electrolysis of sodium chloride, or common salt).
I\’m willing to believe that the chemistry could work. I\’m absolutely certain that it\’s a damnably inefficient method of producing storable and transportable energy. And I\’d be absolutely amazed if anyone ever managed to make it economic.
Anyone see any other faults with it?
Update: OK, finally I see why it\’s rubbish. I should have remembered that I know some people who make sodium hydroxide. And they tell me that they\’ve got free (as in, please take some, it\’s free) hydrogen as a result of the process. So we\’ve already got the H2 earlier in the process and there\’s no need at all to electrolise it from water. Meaning that they must be mad or having a larf.