Climate-neutral fuel – without oil wells, without drilling platforms, without fracking – would not that be wonderful? The Canadian company Carbon Engineering is hot on its heels. And it still filters CO2 from the air!
How does it work?
Carbon Engineering has developed a machine that can filter carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into gasoline.
In a nutshell, this works like this: huge fans catch air. With a solution of hydroxide, they capture the CO2. After filtering out all but pure CO2, you can add hydrogen. Then the liquid becomes gasoline or diesel. Driving cars with this fuel does not pump new greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. They only use CO2, which was already in the air.
Is not that extremely expensive?
The air of CO2 to purify, which can already some other companies. In Switzerland, for example, “Climeworks” filters tons of CO2 from the air and uses it to heat greenhouses. There are similar projects in the USA as well.
But the Canadian solution has one factor that speaks particularly for her: it is cheaper. So far, it cost about $ 1,000 to filter a ton of CO2. David Keith, the founder of Carbon Engineering, tells the SZ that their solution should initially cost $ 300 a tonne. Later, this could even be reduced to $ 94.
The fuel can be sold. One of his machines can capture up to one million tons of CO2 per year. Bill Gates has already invested in Carbon Engineering.
Do we really need to clean the air?
Even if we drastically reduce our CO2 emissions immediately, humanity would still need a solution to reduce all the CO2 that has already been emitted. Climate experts warn that otherwise, we can never meet the maximum sustainable two degrees global warming.
We rely on methods that actively purify the air or the atmosphere. This is called negative emission technology, abbreviated NET.
So inventions like Carbon Engineering’s air filters are not there for us to continue to increase our greenhouse gas output because we purify the air at the same time. They are part of the effort to keep our emissions to a minimum.
The cheapest and most efficient way is to emit as little CO2 as possible.