Hi-tech recycling machine
Marie Renner, climate economics researcher at the University of Paris-Dauphine, said there was major enthusiasm over capture and storage technology around 2008-2010, but the economic crisis and collapse in prices of carbon-based fuels dampened interest.
She said the NCF technology appeared to be aimed at producing clean-burning fuel and she hoped other companies would keep the focus on what is good for the environment if such solutions become widespread.
”We have to ask if placing value on CO2 to produce fuel will derail the capture-and-storage plan’s philosophy—of its primary role—which is to slow climate change,” Renner said.
[media-credit name=”David Banitt, CEO of the Israeli startup company NewCO2Fuels (NCF), explains the innovative technology that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) into synthetic transportation fuel, a clean and affordable energy” align=”alignnone” width=”300”][/media-credit]
On a top floor of a building at Rehovot’s Weizmann Institute of Science, the NCF team has been carrying out work on its prototype involving a solar power plant capable of producing something called syngas from CO2, water and heat.
The syngas can then be used to create synthetic fuels.
A field of solar panels surrounds the building along with a mirror to heat the reactor to more than 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,0832 Fahrenheit).
Within the reactor, the CO2 and water is used to produce the syngas, said Uzi Aharoni, the company’s head of operations.
The idea is for the technology to be used by plants that emit heat and CO2, such as steel or coal gasification plants.
The CO2 would be captured instead of being sent into the atmosphere, then transformed back into fuel—a hi-tech recycling machine.
In its final form, syngas that fits into a one-cubic-metre tank is equivalent to the photosynthesis energy of 300 trees.
”We are transforming these constraints into opportunities,” said the 63-year-old Banitt, who calls himself an environmentalist, ”but not fanatic”.
”Treating CO2 and transforming it into a product does not necessarily involve costs, but can instead generate revenue and profits.”