Liquid Fuel Made from Carbon Dioxide for the First Time

The direct conversion process is being tested in Iceland

On Iceland’s Southern Peninsula, a new facility constructed next to a geothermal power plant has managed to successfully demonstrate the direct conversion of carbon dioxide into methanol fuel, perhaps for the first time. Methanol can be used for a variety applications, including making paints. 

The facility belongs to Carbon Recycling International, a company determined to prove that converting CO2 into methanol does not have to be a very complex and energy-intensive process. The installation takes its supplies from the geothermal power plant next door, thus reducing its neighbor's emissions.

Though this method works, it is unlikely that it will applied anywhere else in the world any time soon. In order for this approach to be effective, a conversion facility needs to be built in an area where both electrical power and carbon dioxide come cheap. Iceland has a medium cost of just four cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity.

Additionally, the geothermal power plants releases highly concentrated streams of carbon, as opposed to fumes, like coal-fired power plants do. This allows the conversion facility to capture and separate carbon with lower overall costs, and with fewer requirements in terms of technology and power consumption, Technology Review reports.

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