Monday, 14 January 2013

making petrol out of air

Making petrol out of fresh air? Engineers have found a way to synthesise everyday vehicle fuel from air and water, in a revolutionary breakthrough. Aberdeen, Scotland - With one of the world's most famous railway lines, Stockton-on-Tees has already given birth to one transport revolution. On September 27, 1825, it carried the first ever passenger rail service along its 40km route through industrial north-east England - changing the world forever. Today, it is at the centre of another technological breakthrough that some scientists and engineers believe could be just as significant as steam locomotion. A small company working in two converted shipping containers says it has found a way to make petrol from fresh air and water. Air Fuel Synthesis Chief Executive Peter Harrison says the process could help curb climate change by providing a cleaner alternative to oil. "We've taken carbon dioxide from air and hydrogen from water and turned these elements into petrol," he told Al Jazeera. "For a country like the UK it means we could create all the fuel you want from renewable energy." The 58-year-old civil engineer, who used to work in the offshore oil industry, describes it as an amazing project to be involved with. Harrison explained that they use a 30 foot tower on top of their first container to capture CO2 from the air. The process of separation involves combining the air with sodium hydroxide and passing it through an electrolyser. A similar method is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The CO2 and hydrogen are then synthesised to make methanol, and eventually petrol. It cost them around $800,000 to build the plant. Since the mini-refinery was switched on in August, they have made 15 litres of fuel that could be used to power any normal car.