TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

How China’s thirst for oil can save the planet

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by doug, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    15,914
    Location:
    Stanford, California
  2. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    15,914
    Location:
    Stanford, California
    Here is a WSJ opinion piece with a similar theme as the article above:

    High Energy Prices Drive Innovation - WSJ.com

     
  3. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,091
    Location:
    Hamilton, Texas
    From the Times Online article. . .

    That would be called biofuels, right? Plants draw carbon from the atmosphere in order to produce the sugars and cellulose which we turn into fuel.

    They call it "synthetic" which implies they may be looking at some industrial process rather than an agricultural one, which could be interesting. But CO2 is barely more than a trace gas in the atmosphere, and it's quite a challenge to create some machine to extract it efficiently.
     
  4. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,143
  5. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    15,914
    Location:
    Stanford, California
    This is what happens when a reporter just reads a company's spin without much understanding. What Lotus is working on is a car that runs on synthetic methanol, which can be "made" from CO2 and hydrogen. It's not clear to me how much energy that synthetic process takes, but I wish they would calculate that in when they try to claim it's carbon neutral.

    There are a couple ways to get CO2 from the atmosphere. The most direct way I'm familiar with is to do it cryogenically (which I've done by accident in the past). There are also some multi-step chemical processes (besides using plants). All these things can require quite a bit of energy.

    Given that CO2 is a small fraction of the atmosphere (less than 0.04% volumetrically), and how energy intensive it is to extract, it makes more sense to grab anthropogenic CO2 before it goes into the air.

    methanol-cycle.jpg
     

Share This Page