No more guilt trips? Revolutionary process converts carbon dioxide into jet fuel using cheap catalysts for emissions-free flights
Ya gotta laugh! Adding a hydrogen atom to CO2 to make a hydrocarbon seems obvious chemistry but it is not so easy in practice. So the scientists below deserve some credit for their achievement.
But where does the hydrogen atom come from? The usual source of hydrogen is natural gas, which is a "FOSSIL FUEL". So those dreaded fossil fuels are still being used to create the new "non-fossil" fuel. The non-fossil fuel comes from fossil fuel. Follow that? Clarity of thought is not to be expected from Greenies
Creating jet fuel for planes out of carbon dioxide – which could make flying guilt free – could soon be a reality.
The process from a team at Oxford University uses cheap iron catalysts to capture CO2 from the air and converts it into fuel for aeroplanes.
The academics have labelled their innovation a 'significant social advance' in how the abundant greenhouse gas is converted and its potential to make flying more environmentally acceptable.
The chemical reaction takes CO2 out of the air, and converts it into jet fuel, which is then emitted by the plane in flight.
As there is no need to extract oil from the ground, the process is carbon neutral.
Aviation is a large and growing contributor to the greenhouse effect – with its gases labelled by Boris Johnson as creating a 'toxic teacosy' around the earth.
It contributes around 10 per cent of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, and is growing as air traffic rises here and abroad.
Flying has as a result become an environmental and political battleground – with environmentalists opposing expansion of air travel – for increasing CO2 emissions.
Teenage activist Greta Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic to the USA to avoid getting in a plane, and celebrities such as Emma Thompson and Harry Potter actress Emma Watson have been lambasted for lecturing the public on the evils of global warming, while regularly jetting round the world.
But the UK is legally bound get to 'net zero' carbon emissions by 2050, so to do this a new form of carbon neutral fuel must be found.
The issue for aviation is that its fuel breaks down and spews out CO2 and water, and both of these products are emitted into the atmosphere.
However, the new technique would capture the gas already in the atmosphere and create fuel, negating the need to fill up with new fuel extracted from the ground.
CO2 is highly stable, but the researchers led by Peter Edwards of Oxford University managed to convert it back into fuel by using a chemical reaction powered by an iron-based catalyst – at low temperatures – and adding hydrogen.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Professor Peter Edwards said the breakthrough could put Britain at the forefront of a revolutionary new green industry.
He said: 'This is a really exciting, potentially revolutionary advance, the most important advance in my four decade career.'
Professor Edwards said he expected it could scale up in two to three years to create jet fuel in large quantities.
He added: 'Our vision is that the world can see that captured CO2 can be used as energy carrier to enable sustainable aviation.
He added that the team are in advanced discussions with UK industries to set up a pilot plant demonstration.
'With government support this would provide the stimulus to grow a new UK synthetic aviation fuel manufacturing industry .
'This advance offers post – Brexit Britain a chance to lead the world in climate change , boost our science base and enhance our reputation.
'These scientific advances must now lead to break-through technology and innovation. We mustn't miss this opportunity.'
Writing in the respected journal Nature Communications, the authors said that their discovery could 'mitigate carbon dioxide emissions but also to produce renewable and sustainable jet fuel'.