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Federal Lab Says It Can Harvest Fuel from Air

Attention Dick Cheney, Exxon and Saudi Arabia

     
9:25 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well, wouldn't this be ducky? Your tax dollars at work.
Via [lanl.gov...]
Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed a low-risk, transformational concept, called Green Freedom, for large-scale production of carbon-neutral, sulfur-free fuels and organic chemicals from air and water.

Currently, the principal market for the Green Freedom production concept is fuel for vehicles and aircraft.

At the heart of the technology is a new process for extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and making it available for fuel production using a new form of electrochemical separation. By integrating this electrochemical process with existing technology, researchers have developed a new, practical approach to producing fuels and organic chemicals that permits continued use of existing industrial and transportation infrastructure. Fuel production is driven by carbon-neutral power.

According to one blog, details "will come next week when Dr. Martin gives a presentation at a government and industry meeting, Alternative Energy Now, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla."

10:01 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, and I think I'll become a Breatharian [encyclopedian.com]. :)
10:08 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Of course, I was reminded of how excited we got a few years ago about cold fusion. That was from New Mexico, too, wasn't it? Not the same outfit, however.
10:16 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I forgot about the "cold fusion" excitement.

The cynic in me wonders "how long will it take the oil companies to buy this technology and shelve it?".

Like they did to the batteries for the GM electric car, and what the car companies did to our local street rail companies.... etc.

10:57 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There was an electric car that set out to make a trip from Philadelphia all the way to Los Angeles, but they couldn't because the power cord was too short.
11:11 pm on Feb 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like a lot of HOT AIR to me!...KF
1:55 am on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I read a different article on the subject, and it seemed like the process does require energy inputs. So it's not a perpetual motion machine of some kind, it's just a more efficient way of capturing and recycling CO2. (I mean, would you really crackpot physics to come out of Los Alamos National Laboratory?)

BTW, I can't speak about this project in particular, but in general carbon capture seems like an extremely great idea. I didn't even know this technology was practical until recently, but it's already close to being achievable at manageable cost levels.

I'm an extreme environmental pessimist, and this is just about the only significant ray of light out there. So many of the other solutions are either window dressing or are going to be obviously unworkable. If we don't summon the will to use CO2 capture on a large scale, pretty much the only other way out is if we begin to run out of oil within the next decade or so.

6:25 am on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Carbon capture: Trees. No need for new technology. Nature already did it for us. BTW carboncapture sounded like a nice domain name but... already gone :)
9:01 am on Feb 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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True, but the Earth is actually experiencing a widespread deforestation due to overpopulation that can probably never be reversed, so any gains or offsets due to tree planting are really illusory.
2:38 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Not really -

global warming happens
water rises
deserts become plains
lots more area for trees
world cools
water resides
plains become desert
trees die

goto start?

10:07 pm on Feb 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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water rises
deserts become plains

Where are you getting that?

Looking at Earth's past, e.g,. the Triassic period, high sea level doesn't ensure more rainfall.

4:51 pm on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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jomaxx, my point exactly. it is our behavior that needs changing, not the invention of new technology. We spend so much time trying to invent solutions because we will not change our behavior.
For example the rise in obesity has given rise to the invention of "lifestyle drugs" or smokers developing lung cancer and needing new innovative cancer drugs.
The world has a natural carbon sink but we are destroying it. Having said all that, we may be more successful inventing than changing peoples behavior and thats a sad reflection on humanity.
9:14 pm on Feb 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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People do want to change, but our infrastructure does not allow it. Here's how I see the equations:

Less effort = easier to change (requires govt involvement)
More effort = can't be bothered
Disaster about to happen = Find a way to be bothered

Cultural differences = Misunderstanding and political agendas

Therefore world unity on this requires too much effort and can't be bothered govts. However put a potential disaster in the way and world unity kind of happens. Unfortunately becos of cultural differences progress is slow. imho

6:19 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think Dabrowski summed it up correctly.

I expect the ants in the New Mexico desert thought that by changing their behaviour they would stop the bomb going off.

7:13 pm on Feb 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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For this technology to be long-term sustainable won't we eventually have to put more CO2 into the atmosphere?

Time to buy coal futures. ;)