Scientists Turn Air Into Gas
British company thinks it can help energy crisis in a big way
By Liam Carnahan, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2012 11:54 AM CDT
UK scientists have found a way to turn air and water vapor into gasoline.   (shutterstock)

(Newser) – An amazing-sounding breakthrough from the UK: Scientists have found a way to extract carbon dioxide from air and mix it with water vapor to create a cleaner, clearer gas that can be used in existing cars and other forms of transport, reports the Independent. A company called Air Fuel Synthesis says it has made five liters of gas so far using a small, electric refinery, but it hopes to create a larger operation powered by solar or wind energy that could produce up to a ton of gas a day within two years, reports the Daily Mail.

If it works on a large scale, the process could not only help ease the energy crisis but clean up the environment as well. "It sounds too good to be true, but it is true," says the chief of energy and the environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London. "They are doing it and I've been up there myself and seen it." The Independent's article is mostly gung-ho on the idea, but it notes that the process of extracting carbon dioxide from air is still too expensive to work well on a commercial scale—for now.

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Showing 3 of 123 comments
wasntme
Oct 20, 2012 8:30 PM CDT
Using the tax payers money for research on this is comforting for the wealthy. When the time comes when gasoline made from oil is not available anymore the wealthy can rest assure that when gasoline is not available anymore, it just means for people make less then 250k a year will have no means to purchase or have gasoline. This of course means nothing to the people that count. As we move back to the age of working for the company that owns your soul I would imagine it is the money and power cycle. through the control of the media, is once again doing its thing.
morph2020
Oct 20, 2012 8:10 PM CDT
Here is a quick and easy way to think of the phony "air into gas" story. The carbon dioxide said to be used is FULLY-OXIDIZED carbon. Likewise, the water vapor is fully-oxidized hydrogen. How are you going to reverse the oxidation of two such elements without consuming enormous energy in the doing of it? You aren't. That's why this story is as phony as can be.
morph2020
Oct 20, 2012 7:35 PM CDT
This story and the commentary on it just take advantage of public (and journalistic) ignorance. Air is ALREADY a gas! Sometimes when people say,"gas," they mean it to be an abbreviation for "gasoline." Sometimes they do not mean that. The authors of this article should be publicly whipped with a heavy chemistry book so they will understand what is going on here. This story ranks up there in stupidity with the story some years ago about a California earthworm peddler who claimed that his earthworms could destroy nuclear waste and leave "no atomic material whatsoever" afterward. He was eventually jailed for fraud, but the reporters who were taken in just looked like fools. The REAL issue here is not gas vs liquid states, but whether this seemingly magical process will produce more energy than the running of it will consume. It will not do so. That is why we aren't already doing this thing. A useful process will have a net positive energy output. This one is like running a heater inside your refrigerator and holding the same temperature inside it that you started with. You consume energy to run the heater, and more of it to run the refrigerator, but you have gained nothing for your trouble. This kind of energy loss is called ENTROPY. The process being discussed is the same kind of thing as the matched heater and refrigerator fighting against each other. News organizations should NEVER hire journalism graduates, because they are just ignorant. After this, and other errors about science matters, I think you should change your slogan so that it reads this way, "Read more, know less."