32k tons of CO2 is produced every minute. NewCO2Fuels says it can turn that into cheaper fuel
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Credit: Shutterstock

The Israeli company recently completed testing of its technology that takes CO2, heat and water and turns it into fuel. It said its fuel will be cheaper than what you pump at the gas station

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

No matter your stance on climate change, we can all agree that new sources of energy are important for keeping fuel levels up to the demands they are at today with rising populations and rising needs for energy.

To address that issue, one Israeli company has developed its own solution to produce fuel from something that likely won’t run out anytime soon: CO2. And, the company says that if its technology is widely implemented, its fuel will be cheaper than the fuel pumped at gas stations today.

NewCO2Fuels has developed a system through using high temperatures, CO2 and water, it can produce synthetic fuels. According to the company, its process for creating fuel has a 40% conversion efficiency rate, which can enable competitive fuel prices without any governmental incentives for end product fuels. Not to mention, its recycled CO2 emissions, for all those concerned about the greenhouse gas. According to U.N. statistics, 32,000 tons of CO2 is added to the atmosphere every minute.

A reverse combustion

The technology is based on research conducted by Prof. Jacob Karni’s team at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, from where it is exclusively licensed. The company recently completed its proof of concept testing and said it achieved a dissociation rate that is 800 times faster than the rate produced in experiments conducted two years ago. The technology was proven to work both with electrical heating and with solar energy. Thus, energy intensive industries, such as those that produce steel, glass, ceramic etc., can use their excess heat and emitted CO2 to produce fuel.

Karni and two researchers have been working on the basis of the tool’s technology for seven years. They developed a way to dissociate CO2 into CO and O2 through a reverse combustion. Combustions occur when a fuel gets into contact with oxygen and they create heat, water and CO2. Going backwards, NewCO2Fuels takes the CO2 and water and use electricity or solar power to heat the chemicals and produce a synthetic gas (CO +H2) and oxygen.

NewCO2Fuels has tested its product with two prototypes (one using electricity heat and the other solar heat) and each were run for more than 100 hours, and produced CO at a rate of 10 Kg per day.

Credit: NewCO2Fuels

Credit: NewCO2Fuels

When can we get cheaper fuel?

Now that the company knows its technology works, it is looking to design, fabricate, install and test a demonstration facility and improve its system. To do so, the company is looking for investors for a second round of funding. In 2011, NewCO2Fuels raised $9 million in its first round of funding from two Australian companies, Erdi Fuels and Greenearth Energy. The company also received two grants totaling $600,000 from the Israeli Ministry of Energy. So far Greenearth Energy has committed $3 million to NewCO2Fuels’ latest funding round.

Next the company needs to set up pilots to demonstrate its system. Right now it is trying to integrate with the steel industry, which already generates the required heat and other resources it needs to produce fuel. The company said it has agreements of understanding with one of the world’s largest steel companies and an international engineering firm to set up pilot systems, but none have been finalized yet. Moreover, the company has established a collaboration agreement with a European conglomerate to partner on product development to integrate NewCO2Fuels’ product into other industries.

The technology is protected by six patent applications, of which one has been granted in the U.S., China, Mexico and Russia. The company was founded in 2011 by Karni and CEO David Banitt.

While the wide use of NewCO2Fuels’ energy may be far off, seeing cheaper gas prices on the horizon is something we can all get behind.

Video: From greenhouse gas to fuel

Photo credit: Shutterstock, green energy

 

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Aviva Gat

About Aviva Gat


Olah Chadasha and former finance reporter from New York City. Gat is a writer, runner and traveler who came to Israel for the good food and weather. She writes for Geektime’s English and global desk.

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