Generating Gasoline From CO2 Emissions

For some time it has been assumed that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will require a shift to cars that do not use petroleum and to power plants that do not use coal, because of the emissions from these sources. All of this may be a false alarm.

Two recent articles indicate that there may be no need to reduce petroleum use in cars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The first story from USA Today describes a new process for producing gasoline from CO2. If implemented, this could materially reduce GHG emissions from coal fired electricity plants – a principal source of GHG emissions in the United States and in many other nations, including China and India. Another story in The New York Times, indicates the potential of technology that could capture CO2 emissions from cars, to be later refined into gasoline. All of this is further evidence that technology is the answer with respect to reducing GHG emissions.

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Gasoline from CO2

A stupid idea and a politically appealing idea, but I repeat myself.

When a pound of gasoline is burned in an internal combustion engine carbon monoxide, water and energy are produced. The carbon monioxide is oxidized to carbon dioxide in the catalytic converter which produces a little more energy. The total amount of energy is about 6000 watts or a little less than eight horsepower.

Gasoline is a hydrocarbon. It contains only hydrogen and carbon in varying proportions. To produce gasoline from carbon dioxide, the burning of gasoline has to be reversed. Hydrogen has to be added to the carbon dioxide, oxygen has to removed, and energy put back in. This is a very inefficient process and much more, more energy than was released when gasoline is burned is required.

It is much more economical, but still not an efficient use of resources, to make gasoline from coal, another hydrocarbon, and to inject the carbon dioxide into wells to make sparkling water.

very interesting

Thanks for writing about the topic.