CO2 soon the recycled fuel with a biocatalyst?
Carbon dioxide, long identified as the main culprit of global warming, could make a new virtue if a small American company succeeded his bet to turn it into gasoline.
At first glance, the company seems as crazy as that of the medieval alchemist Nicolas Flamel, except that it is more to turn lead into gold, but the pollutant into clean energy.
While the Obama administration has made the fight against climate change and the search for clean energy a priority, the company Carbon Sciences, who patented his discoveries, hopes surf mobilizing political and opinion for be the first to meet this challenge.
This small company in Santa Barbara, California, is willing to build a first pilot plant at the operational level, which could start producing a new generation of biofuels at the end 2010.
Its COO Byron Elton explained that it remained for him to find a partner to launch the project.
"Our partner can be anyone who produces many CO2: a coal plant, a cement plant, a refinery ..." Has he said during a meeting in New York.
If a partnership was sealed within nine months, this new type of biofuel could start to be produced at the end 2010 says Elton, recognizing that the timeframe "might be a little ambitious." The technology developed by Carbon Sciences uses microorganisms, which she calls "bio-catalysts." (Note econologie.com: would this micro algae?)
First we must "destabilize" the carbon dioxide in the mélageant with water. Then the microorganisms, protected by polymer shells specially developed, are responsible for redial hydrogen and carbon to produce hydrocarbons.
The mechanism is the same as that used in nature, in the genesis of hydrocarbons. But in the process of Carbon Sciences, "biocatalysts are protected and reused, so that the fuel can be produced with a cost price" very, very competitive. "
Other companies are in this field
Carbon Sciences, a company employing only 8 people, claims to be the most advanced in this research, but it is not alone in exploring this track.
The investor-researcher Craig Venter, whose team was the first to announce to have succeeded in decoding the human genome in 2000, announced in February he thought 2008 18 succeed in the space of months to produce biofuel " fourth generation "that is to say not on an agricultural basis as ethanol, but based on carbon dioxide.
Today the J. Craig Venter Institute boasts especially using advanced algae to decompose and recompose the CO2 hydrocarbons.
These initiatives are of great interest among US officials. They are especially popular in the United States that the country derives half of its electricity from coal plants, emitting huge carbon dioxide, the ecological cost is decried as such.
"The question is not whether we use coal, but how we use it," said at the beginning of the influential Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan.
He said that 3,4 billion had been budgeted for this purpose in the economic stimulus package passed earlier this year. Carbon Sciences manna which would thoroughly enjoy, according to Byron Elton.