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A concept for making gasoline from air

By Gerald Ondrey |

Air Fuel Synthesis Ltd. (AFS; Darlington, U.K.; www.airfuelsynthesis.com) has recently demonstrated a process for producing carbon-neutral liquid hydrocarbon (HC) fuel from air-captured carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The proof-of-concept demonstration facility, located at Teesside, England produces 5–10 L/d of liquid HCs. The next step of the company’s three-year (2012–2015), £1.1-million development program is scaling up to 1–10 metric tons (m.t) per day commercial unit, with the long-term goal of 10-million m.t./yr by the year 2025. AFS’s process combines well-understood chemical techniques. First, CO2 is absorbed from air (fluegas or a fermentation process, such as in a distillery) in a sodium-hydroxide scrubber to form aqueous sodium carbonate. The Na2CO3 solution is then pumped to an electrolytic cell where the carbonate is reduced to CO2, and the Na2CO3 solution is returned to the scrubber. Meanwhile, water — either recovered from air by means of a dehumidifier and condenser, or another source of clean water — is electrolyzed to produce hydrogen and caustic. The H2 and CO2 are then reacted to form synthesis gas (syngas; CO and H2) via a reverse water-gas-shift reaction. The syngas…
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