Sunday, February 17, 2008

Driving on Air

Heres an alternative to paying the OPEC jizya. Manufacture motor fuel from air and water. The scientists at Los Almos National Labs have developed a way to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide and water into synthetic gas (syngas) which can then be converted into methanol or even petrol. (full paper here) They use a “carbon neutral” power source - nuclear power but if ever solar or wind become economic there’s no reason why they couldn’t be used. The basic chemistry has been known for a long time but they claim to be able to do it more economically and intend to build a demonstration unit.

I’m not surprised that Los Almos is researching this. They are a military lab and the US military is the world’s largest user of oil. The cost is still high, $4.60 a gallon for petrol and $1.65 for methanol, but the DOD would properly be willing to pay a premium to insure its fuel supplies. However if there is a major move to alcohol fuels then you can bet people would be trying very hard to bring the cost down.

Which brings me to General Motors Vice President Bob Lutz. He is developing GM’s electric car the Volt and has been reported to say :

–Hybrid cars like those made by Toyota “make no economic sense,” because their price will never come down, ……

Global warming is a “total crock of ****.” Then he added: “I’m a skeptic, not a denier. Having said that, my opinion doesn’t matter. (With the battery-driven Volt), “I’m motivated more by the desire to replace imported oil than by the CO2 (argument).”….

Sounds good to me. I note GM is also investing in Coskata ethanol process (which as it uses syngas, would work with the Los Almos air fuel idea). Of course in Australia we have Labor’s Kim Carr wanting to build hybrid cars in Australia. Typical leftists nonsense.

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