Synthetic Gasoline Using Air Capture Technique

This may be a bit off topic but I don’t think too far.

The Telegraph is reporting today about a British Company, Air Fuel Synthesis, that is creating synthetic gasoline (petrol) in the following way.

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 Synthesis, then uses the carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methanol which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol.

I’m not predicting that this one company is ready to solve the world’s energy crisis — they are a small organization and have created only five litres of gasoline in three months — however, I think this kind of innovation is what we might be able to expect if we can generate lots of cheap energy.

The process mentioned above involved electrolysis, which of course will require electricity, and lots of it if production of fuel using a process like this is carried out on a large scale. This is but one example of a useful technology that might become viable if E-Cat/LENR rectors can make possible cheap and abundant electricity generation (Rossi’s ‘Tesla’ dream).

As far as synthetic gasoline goes, even if cold fusion hits the mainstream, we have billions of vehicles throughout the world that will still require gasoline to run — and it’s likely that it would take decades to transition to automobiles running on new forms of energy, so solutions like this that use new technologies to create synthetic fuels could be very important.

  • All you have to do is read the comments on the original article in the Telegraph to see what a non-event this is.

    The gullibility of the media concerning stories like this is evidently boundless. Really, this isn’t much different than the mythical “car that runs on water”. (When you see the word “amazing” in a newspaper headline, it’s pretty much a tipoff that the writer has abandoned all skepticism.)

    People who write about science without knowing any actual science really bug me. Points off E-Cat World for credulously promoting this.

  • Ciro Maddaloni
  • Ciro Maddaloni

    We already have the technologies and know how to produce fuel from Algae. It is not yet done because there are still lobbies that are looking forward on how to control this process and use it to replace existing hydrocarbons processes. But will happen and will happen within 10 years.

  • jacob

    I propose that a sysyem be built,that uses solarpanels or windmills to power such a device to incorporate removing CO2 from the atmosphere humidity from the air as in the process of AIR Fuel SYNTHESIS to produce methanol to run your new generation flexfuel cars independant of the gas stations,fuel produced in your backyards without needed approval from the energy authorities.

    If it can be imagined it can be built !!

    Since the concept has already been proven to work.

  • Sanjeev

    Nothing revolutionary about it, old trick. No body has done it before because its economically non feasible, it takes more energy to produce the petrol than it outputs. In other words, a net loss.

    Even if alternate energy sources are used to produce it, its still a loss, because these sources are costlier than grid electricity. And the obvious question arises – why produce a polluting fuel when you can produce compressed air or stored electricity using these alternate sources of energy and run your vehicles on that instead.

    May be they will find some niche market and make some profit. There is place for all things in this big world. All the best to them.

    • Chris

      Of course it can’t use less energy than the caloric content of the fuel produced, because the substances involve are in a closed cycle once the fuel is fully burnt. This is obvious.

      The same goes for photosynthesis, yet it is a fundamental thing in our world because it has long been exploiting solar energy, since way before we started fumbling around with it. So it all depends on what forms of energy it can be driven with. Like any conversion process between energy forms, it will never be overunity in the strict sense (i. e. counting the fuel, this goes for Ni-H or whatever) and it can’t even be quite without losses; it’s just that some forms of energy are more useable, so some conversions are. I only find this one less interesting than Ni-H, even granting it to work well. Unless they could accomplish it with sunlight…

    • David

      the answer is portablility and virtually indefinate storage in an existing system. It really dose not matter int he slightest if it takes more energy to make then it creates. Any synthetic fuel will be a net loss. What matters is what it’s cost will be compared to other options. We continue to use oil because we pull it out of the ground for almost nothing. As long as gas refined from oil is cheaper per gallon then other options, it will be gas that is used.

      That dynamic will change the moment Bio fuels or some other equally portable, storable and versitile fuel become cheaper than oil based fuels. That just th economics of the situation.

  • Roger Bird

    The rest of the car besides the engine also costs money. I know that this may come as a surprise to some of you. I will be very happy to see gasoline prices drop really hard so that I don’t need to buy an entire new car. Yes, EVERYTHING will be cheaper, but the transition will take time and there will be someone around who will want to make a buck off of it. And I will take advantage of their entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Babble

    A much better method of getting fuel from CO2 is using Nat gas and capturing the CO2 from it and power plants. Carbon Sciences (CABN)has both wet and dry catalysts to do this. The problem is that most small companies are forced to die (being ignored by any bigger companies)then their patents are bought for a small sum or used after they expire.

    • Jim

      Except that the natural gas introduces more net carbon into the atmosphere, which is important to us coast dwellers.

  • What if

    This process has a COP < 1. Nothing to see here, move along.

    • If the CIHT technology from – which has already been validated – manages to make it to market, we will not need gasoline at all.

      • Ciro Maddaloni

        Gentlemen all these are illusions. BlackLightPower is promising to produce electricity since 2007. But so far nothing else than fund raising and press releases.

  • Omega Z


    I’ve looked into this many times in the last year.
    The Numbers I keep coming up with is Aprox. 1 Billion vehicles & growing.
    Oil used for Maritime Shipping equivalent to an additional 300 Million vehicles.

    Which is why I’ve stated many times that transition will take much more time then many realize. Some have implied just crank up production to make it happen faster. My reply is doesn’t matter how fast you build them. It depends on If & When I/We can afford one.

  • Mario Marq

    This is just a simple curiosity, during WWII the isolated GB produced a lot, i mean a lot of petrol/kerosenes directly from coal by LTC (low temperature carbonization) without involving the more sophisticated Fisher-Torpsh processes that the Germans used. Matter of fact Germany fought all the time without a single oil well, and it only had problems upon the massive bombings that not only disrupted the production of coal, but more important destroyed most of their factories and transport infrastructure.

    Is not used today by most countries because it doesn’t “suit” TPTB for reasons of control… because its not only coal, biomass can also be a good source of carbon… and most of countries have it, meaning they could be energy independent(see!?).

    It all fells in the same category of alternative sources *suppression*… not only by the control of the big petrochemical industry on most relevant countries but also by “science” suppression(and this one has nothing exotic).

  • Chris

    I find this much less interesting than using the electricity directly or rubbing a vehicle on steam or hot air.

    • Anthony

      You neglect the logistical considerations: petrol is fluid (injection systems are more efficient and common than solid fuel or gas); it has an amazing energy profile (you don’t have to carry as much fuel or engine to get as far, by weight or volume); hydrocarbon chemistry is well-researched, has existing capital to utilize, and feeds plastics and pharma. Oh, and electricity has to be created to match demand, because batteries are heavy, costly, slow to charge/discharge, and leak. Petrol can be stockpiled, piped without loss, and stored/dispersed simply at many scales. Even with Rossi’s Hot Cats generating industrial and public-utility power, a lot of that would go to making hydrocarbons for fuel and plastics – new energy sources may be more efficiently captured, but methanol/petrol still have awesome utility as a storage-medium and chemical feedstock. With continued demand for the physical good, an easier route to synthesis (dependent upon potentially ‘free’ transmutation power, rather than local monopolies of crude reserves) would lower its relative cost, and we should expect an increase in petrol-usage (especially at the periphery and in marginal substitutions). Energy technologies are not exclusive, this way/that way: improving one route or another increases the flow of demand through both. (see Jevon’s Paradox)

      • Mario Marq

        You forget the worst of all… pollution…

        But if you want still to have fuel burning, let it be External Combustion Engines, and plug them to generators not the wheels of an automobile or locomotive or a boat propeller…

        ICE simply is dumb to have has the main “motive” source, simple dumb… they have a mechanical “sweet spot” of functioning, so they should work only at that “spot” connected to an electric generator and let *electric motors* provide motive power that not only are much much more efficient with almost instant torque, but also only consume power when accelerating or cruising, never when decelerating or stooped…

        easy to see why TPTB love so much that obsolete tech

        So batteries don’t need to be big, “au contrarire” they can be relatively small… only in BEVs they need to be big. And since the load of a generator is much much less than pushing by up to 2 tons(or more) of car, those ICEs can suffer a very substantial dose of downsizing for the same levels of power output and consume incredible less ( i think 200 MPG is not pipe dream).

        • Omega Z

          Mario Marq

          Electric batteries are about to make a big leap.
          1/2 the weight, 1/2 the size, 1/2 the cost & 300 to 800 miles per charge. This will make Electric vehicles very practical. 100K mile plus life cycle possibly 200K eventually. With E-cat Generated Electricity for the charging everything works out.

          The Down side is all this is 3 to 5 years in the future.

          • Mario Marq

            You don’t have to wait. What i’m talking about is the clear trend of ***decentralization*** of power distribution, that is , no matter how good your batteries are, with a centralized approach nothing prevents TPTP charging you the same or more for the same amount of energy, with the aggravating factor that it could take hours to fill.

            To support this they will invent studies of well-to-wheel and similar crap, when in reality from all the waste that modern societies produce, you can have all the liquid fuel you want(excess if you account for 30% or more water+alchool in all fuels, which is even better for ICE ).

            With a good efficient hydrocarbon genset on board i think its quite possible that 10 liters will be enough for almost 1000KM… meaning its equivalent of retiring 80% of the cars from circulation.

            And if your genset is multi-fuel, it will mean you’ll have energy independence.

            ECAT, specially the HOT-CAT is *nuclear* and runs very hot, and TPTB will impose this, meaning none will have it except the big utilities, meaning they can charge the same that their profits can quadruple or quintuple…

        • Chris

          Wait, pollution is hardly the objection, since the petroleum would be synthesized from the carbon dioxide in the air with the only addition of hydrogen.

          This would actually be much better than using biofuels, only I see it as being good for running ICEs already in use until they’ve had their day, I just meant that I don’t see it as being all that interesting in comparison to a new source with the properties claimed by Rossi and co. Using Ni-H energy to run the petroleum synthesis would be like a retrofit, with a mainly transitional value.

          The idea of making new ICEs to be run on petroleum synthesized with energy from Ni-H strikes me as if Watt’s idea had been to use steam for driving traditional windmills; it wouldn’t be nearly as efficient as well designed turbines nor even the earliest of steam engines that came into use back then.

      • Chris

        Actually, I wasn’t neglecting any logistical considerations because the comparison is not with solid fuel nor gas. The Jevons paradox doesn’t really apply either.

        Yes, I was implicitly talking about electricity or heat generated by the Ni-H reaction, possibly on board the vehicle, something which I would hope to become more convenient than with this current hot cat but even this would do with a good modern accumulator.

        Did none of you notice my amusing typo? I only saw it now, “rubbing a vehicle on steam or hot air” conjures up slightly hilarious images.

  • Ammonia would be a possible alternative to gasoline. Given energy (from E-cat, e.g.), ammonia (NH3) can be made from air and water, it can be transported as a liquid under mild pressure, and when burnt in an engine it again produces just air and water. One can think of it as hydrogen economy where NH3 is the hydrogen carrier. Of course, ammonia is poisonous, but it’s already nowadays transported in large amounts over railways and such. Its energy content is about half of diesel fuel: not splendid, but much better than any battery. It’s also possible to separate ammonia into nitrogen and hydrogen and then feed it into a fuel cell.

    Ammonia was the fuel of the reusable X-15 rocketplanet in the 1960’s, and in some European cities buses ran on ammonia during WW2. Compared to hydrogen, ammonia is much easier to store, has much higher storage density and lower tankage mass.

    Namely, the problem with synthetic gasoline (or methanol, or methane, or whatever carbon-containing compound) like the one described is the difficulty of getting enough feedstock CO2 from the atmosphere. It apparently succeeds with a strong base, but handling large amounts of NaOH doesn’t sound very attractive in my opinion.

    • ivan_cev

      Tell this to the greens, there is not enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere!

    • Thinksforself

      Burn coal, capture the CO2, make synthetic gasoline. You get to burn the carbon twice. Won’t make the greens or the oil companies happy.

    • Omega Z


      Look into the Lithium Air batteries.

      3 Companies & Probably others also are preparing to goto market in about 2 to 3 years. Half the cost/weight/size of existing Lithium batteries with 300-800 plus miles per charge & 100K plus life cycle. Listed below are 2 of them.

      I suspect this will be the eventual path with or without E-cat generated electricity. Much better with.

      Reason being that the Car manufacturers & Most of the Infrastructure are already there. Everything else would require several trillion in additional costs plus a lot of years to implement.

      1 company(Don’t recall which) is already in the process of developing & setting up a manufacturing facility for the Lithium Air batteries. Aprox. 2 year time frame & already involved with negotiations with the Car manufacturers.

      • Mario Marq

        The problem with air-lithium batteries is that they breath air, and with that they breath dust which can be microscopic clogging your cells pores, meaning probably you have to have a good *active* filtering system, which can cost a lot,and consume non negligence amount of energy.

        I think with better electrode techs, specially anodes, will be possible to have batteries that have the triple of energy and power densities, and specially also charge/discharge much faster and leak much less…

        More promising will be to combine “supercapacitor” techs and have advanced controls, meaning with a genset on board this “packs” can be small and the vehicle be much lighter augmenting that way range.

        *For BEVs 500 miles range is not a pipe dream, only batteries packs would still be around half a ton (500kg)…and worst of all you have to have an infrastructure in place for recharging (re-fueling stations)

        * For PHEVs the range can be 1000 mile with less than 200Kg for the batteries and relative very small genset(s)… meaning you’ll be getting less than half the weight for the energy source, for the same electric motors… and the best of all you don’t need any change in the current infrastructure (only instead of filling 10 gallons you’ll be filling only 2 much less often lol)…

        So 3 factors:
        * more efficient electric motors with “back-emf” harvesting
        * combine “supercapacitor” tech with advanced controls for your battery packs, better match for all sources of electric recuperation
        * specially take the stupid ICE out of your wheels…

        A PHEV that uses an ICE for “motive” source, like the famous Lexus Prius is not Hybrid at all IMO… its a stupid contraption that the efficiency gained by electric is wasted by the more weight that the engine has to pull…

        So nothing of this is what you have… BEMF harvesting ; supercapacitirs to better match all sources of recuperation that can be the electric motors themselves, the front radiator fan, the suspension dumpers, waste heat from the ICE and even your radio antenna!… *they* don’t let you have it without a fight…

  • MikeP

    The more important use of technology like this, IMHO, is in the generation of carbon based derivatives such as fertilizers, etc. Whether these are made by first creating petroleum products, then secondary products or by going directly to the secondary products is largely irrelevant.

  • dogman

    this has been proposed as way of using otherwise unusable renewable energy, like night time wind energy. Here are a couple of links from a quick google search, there are likely other players as well:

  • buffalo

    intresting.but very would need many times more electricity to make petrol than if u just do strait electrolysis and use the hydrogen directly as fuel instead of converting further to hydrocarbons

    • hadamhiram

      Correct. Electric vehicles are already close to being more efficient from a well-to-wheel energy perspective. Using this new process, gasoline would be very expensive – MUCH more than gasoline from fossil fuels. LENR, in turn, will make electricity cheaper. Together that means petrol cars will get more expensive to operate and electric cars will get cheaper. The logic is obviously to shift small vehicles to all-electric drive-trains.

      There may still be use for this process for aircraft, trucking, ships, etc. I believe the US Navy is using a similar process to create jet fuel from seawater and air on its aircraft carriers.

      • Mario Marq

        Electric vehicles are already much more efficient from a well-to-wheel energy perspective… its all ***propaganda***…

        Petrol ICE is 15% efficient to the wheels.

        Electric motors can be > 80% efficient and only consume power upon acceleration and cruising ( ICE do it all the time)

        Generators can be more than 90% efficient.

        If you make the accounts for the same levels of power outputs, you only need half the torque output of the potential ICE that you’d put on your wheels, for your generator(much much smaller engine)… to the point you could make batteries negligenciable in this accounts…

  • theBuckWheat

    “As far as synthetic gasoline goes, even if cold fusion hits the mainstream, we have billions of vehicles throughout the world that will still require gasoline to run …”

    The molecules in gasoline must come from somewhere. At present they come by taking apart and reassembling the atoms and molecules in hydrocarbon-rich crude oil. However, any source of these atoms and molecules could be used, the main factor is cost.

    The truth is that the earth is almost literally awash in hydrocarbons that could be used to make motor vehicle fuels. At present crude oil is, on balance, the least expensive source, but for example the instant that coal or natural gas becomes less expensive on a relative basis, industry will switch sources.

    It is for this reason that “peak oil” is a specious worry because the only thing that counts is the price of the finished fuel product, not the supply levels of specific sources of the hydrocarbons used to make the fuels.

    • wizer13


    • jazzy

      1barrel of oil $90 =5.8mmbtus 1mmbtu of crude=$15.5
      1mmbtu of natural gas=$2.5
      right now crude unrefined is 6 times the price of natural gas
      its all about energy density energy producers are all over the liquid stuff not the gassy stuff right now cause there is no money in the gassy stuff. we are swimmin in gas bro

    • Mario Marq

      There isn’t any “peak oil”… and even if there is who cares ?…

      You can make hydrocarbons from coal, biomass, plastics, rubbers, natural gas sources… any source of vegetable oil, even the used cooking one… and even from animal feces lol… and for better burn you can emulsify up to 30% water and methanol(like coal burning fly ash chemistries) ethanol sources…

      You’d be swimming in fuel!…

      So we can argue there is instead a “peak intelligence” and a “peak be very afraid hogwash(which can also serve to make hydrocarbons) mantra”!…

      None of the wars has been for “oil” (reuse) they all have been for POWER (realpolitik)… oil has only been a form of control, and who has the power dictates what is money and what others will use for fuel…

      • theBuckWheat

        “Peak Oil” is entirely an economic phenomena instead of a peaking and then decline in absolute supply. The reason is simple: when the sources of oil that are inexpensive to exploit are exhausted, new sources can only be made available at a higher price.

        Recalling that few people burn crude oil in their autos and airplanes, what counts is only the price of the finished fuel product. As the price of crude oil climbs over time, at some point the price of finished fuels will trigger substitution, innovation and adaption by both fuel users as well as by refiners. One poster already showed that 1 BTU of energy from coal is but a fraction of the cost of 1 BTU of $90 crude oil. At some point, for a given level of sales, it will be less expensive to brew a gallon of jet fuel from coal than from crude oil. As long as they can maintain product standards and quality, the end user does not know, nor maybe even care if his fuel came from oil or coal, or something else.

        In a free market, all participants are able to make the transition peacefully and with a minimum of supply disruption. This all changes when government insists on intrusion for the public good. We made the transition from “peak whale oil” to coal oil without any issues when coal oil was less expensive. “Peak Oil” will likewise pass if only we would allow the market to adapt as necessary.

        • Omega Z

          Peek Supply/Peek Demand/Peek Price are all intertwined.

          The Key is Price. Doesn’t matter how much you have or how much you cam produce if the price is out of reach for the Common Person. The Economy dies.

          • Mario Marq


            In every city/community you already have waste treatment and disposal.. well!… don’t fill dumping sites, with pyrolysis approach or plasma treatment, you can have an enormous amount of *syngas* among many other recycling products(including metals)…

            With that syngas you can run a power station to keep the “plasma” going and make a lot of liquid fuels by Fischer-Tropsch methods.

            Is it energy efficient ? .. doubt, but here is where Ecat can enter…

            Is it lucrative ? … doubt very much, but you already pay millions and millions on taxes etc for waste treatment… in the end is only get something useful out of it instead of filling dumping sites, and in the end it may happen very well that you’ll have to pay much much less on taxes etc…

        • Mario Marq

          ” “Peak Oil” is entirely an economic phenomena instead of a peaking and then decline in absolute supply. The reason is simple: when the sources of oil that are inexpensive to exploit are exhausted, new sources can only be made available at a higher price. ”

          Is that science or *religion* ?

          Peak Oil is simply a psyops to augment the profits of those involved in those industries… less “supposed” oil, the higher the “supposed” price…

          If a lot, and most of the countries on earth could have done it, had approach the example of Germany and GB during WWII with their approach to synthetic fuels, there wouldn’t have been oil shocks and similar and most countries would be energy independent.

  • timycelyn

    They gave it a slot on the drive time ‘Today’ radio programme on BBC today. A few thoughts crossed my mind as I was staring at the unmoving rear end of the car in front:

    1. Pretty much par for the course with the Beeb. Spend 5 mins of prime time on this, frankly very kooky sounding idea, but never a word on LENR. Talk about carefully studying an ant and ignoring the elephant (in the room, no doubt) standing next to it.

    2. I’d love to see a work up of the energy flows and efficiencies of this idea. Impressive probably would not be the word!

    3. As a means of making cheap LENR electricity portable, there are probably other better ways. The rate that batteries and electric cars are coming along, for example.

    As a response to the point that the current fleet is petrol powered, so cheap electricity of itself is no direct help, I’d point out that a change of this nature would be slow anyway (that’s a hell of a lot of plant these guys would have ot construct!) and by the time it’s built we could have turned the car fleet over, and it would all be electric…

  • Blanco69

    Think I’ve seen something about this before. There was a few boffins working out in the desert somewhere in the US doing this very thing. They we using solar energy to run the process. It had the same sort feel as a couple of guys mixing up a batch of moonshine back in the woods but it’s great inovation and more power to them.

  • daniel maris

    I thought the same when I saw the article.

    Couple of things –

    1. The product is basically carbon neutral (potentially – if they get the carbon from the air).

    2. This petrol is much cleaner than the stuff we get out of the ground.

    I think this could have a role to play in a transition from a hydrocarbon based economy to an LENR one – and green energy will also have a role to play in that transition.

  • b4FreeEnergy

    Continuing the petrol age by making it ourselves?!

    This is certainly not what we’re waiting for and after all it’s still petrol so still poluting!

    (Not to mention the energy needed to make it)

    • MK

      When the energy source is LENR, then it will have a zero carbon footprint. Reason: The CO2 the vehicle will put out is first removed from the air. The remaining pollution is well under control with todays catalytic converters. Petrol created this way would be an energy storage, somehow comparable with an extremely high capacity accumulator.

      • barty

        Yes, and we still have the nice engine sounds!
        But environmental friendly!

        The energy which is needed to produce the fuel could be generated by a LENR reactor.

        • Mario Marq

          The more sound you have from those stupid obsolete contraptions, the less efficient/powerful it is… look at the lemans series and who wins almost always, and those “race” engines have something like 5 to 10 MPG… something you’d not recommend to your friends…

          you want “sound” you can produce it electrically… don’t need much… Mercedes is doing it for their BEV supercars.

          And burning a fuel is NEVER “environmental friendly”… so the less you have of it the better… heavy downsizing -> take the ICEs “out of the wheels”.

  • QC-JYM

    Wondering what the price per litre will come up to when you add up cost of electrosys plus dehumidifying (witch is not a cheap process, BTW)and then fuel reactor… gasoline is 1.35$/ltr down here…challenging, aint it?


    • daniel maris

      They are thinking of starting with island economies where it’s difficult to import petrol.

    • Thinksforself

      The dehumidifying could be done with the heat from an LENR reactor. Look up absorption cooling. With it you could pull humidity/water out of desert air. Just add a heat source!!!

  • AstralProjectee

    Never thought you would post something like this here. It’s fine though. Nice to know.