Science Questions

Can we make recycled oil from carbon dioxide?

Sat, 18th Jun 2011

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Coal Gasification and Carbon Capture


Pekka Oilinki, via Facebook asked:

Is there any way to mimic nature and produce 'recycled oil' by combining co2 with electricity from the solar cells or the heat directly from the sun shine?


Joe -   Well, taking CO2 and reconverting it into fuel, CO2 itself is completely spent fuel so one has to add energy to go back up the thermodynamic curve from carbon dioxide to usable fuel.  The most efficient chemistry for doing so is photosynthesis.  It is an intricate process that adds energy from sunlight.  Nothing else that man has done on a pathway has approached the efficiency of photosynthesis.  At Skyonic, weve been working with the University of Texas on bio-algal fuels made from bio-algae. Weve been feeding it with bicarbonate of soda manufactured from our SkyMine process and they've reported very good results. 90% incorporation of the CO2 and a tripling of the growth rate because it actually creates an algae bloom.  It also throws some of the biologic triggers inside the algae that make it produce oil preponderantly compared to plant matter.

Ben -   So we can't mimic nature yet, but we can of course get nature to do that work for us.

Joe -   We can hitch a ride on nature at this point and its probably the most promising means for making fuel directly from CO2.


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