The AFS (Engineers at Air Fuel Synthesis) based in the north of England claims to have produced 5 liters of synthetic oil within 3 months.
It's a little bit, you might say. And give me a break.
The technique consists in extracting carbon dioxide from the air and hydrogen from the water, then combining them in a reactor which, with the help of a catalyst, produces methanol. The methanol is then converted into oil. Now do you understand why it takes 3 months for 5 liters? Not exactly the time you would expect to fill up, but it can still be a promising route.
Using renewable energy also to develop this extraction process (I am thinking of photovoltaic panels or wind power) would achieve the 'miracle' of creating fuel that can be used directly now, as current oil is used, without waiting (as for the electric car ) a radical transformation of vehicles and infrastructures.
"It's cleaner because it's synthetic," says Peter Harrison, CEO of AFS. "This fuel thus obtained does not contain pollutants, such as sulfur for example".
The prospects of a bridging solution to allow the oil-based energy system not to collapse pending the diffusion of other sources could still be interesting: the result of the English team comes downstream from an investment of 1,4 million euros and a job that lasted two years. And as often happens, the result is in turn upstream of a very long way to go.
[Highlight]Estimated time: downtown two years AFS plans to develop a first plant capable of producing around 1200 liters of synthetic oil per day, destined for the motor sports sector. [/ highlight]