You read that right, Air Fuel Synthesis in Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside, a small British company, has managed to produce the world’s first “petrol from air”, using a “revolutionary technology that promises to solve the energy crisis as well as helping to curb global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” This company has produced 5-liters of petrol since August in a small refinery that synthesizes petrol from carbon dioxide and water vapor. Continue reading for a video and more information.
While the company is still developing their process and still need to take electricity from the national grid, it believes it will eventually be possible to power the synthesis entirely from renewable sources. Within two years it hopes to build a commercial-scale plant capable of making a ton of petrol a day and expand into producing green aviation fuel to make airline travel more eco-friendly.
The technology involves mixing air with sodium hydroxide, then electrolysing the resultant sodium carbonate to release pure carbon dioxide. This is then reacted with hydrogen electrolysed from water to make a hydrocarbon mixture, with the reaction conditions varied depending on the type of fuel desired. The fuel that is produced can be made ready for use in any petrol tank with the addition of the same additives currently added to fuel.