BEER-SHEVA, Israel — Researchers here have developed a process to convert carbon dioxide and hydrogen into a renewable alternative for crude oil, which they say could transform fuels used in gas and diesel vehicles and jets.
According to the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, the "green feed" crude oil can be refined into renewable liquid fuels using established technologies and can be transported using existing infrastructure to gas stations.
The advance, described as “highly efficient,” is made possible in part using nanomaterials that significantly reduce the amount of energy required in the catalytic process to make the crude oil.
"We can now use zero cost resources, carbon dioxide, water, energy from the sun, and combine them to get real fuels," said BGU's Professor Moti Hershkowitz, presenting the new renewable fuel process at the Bloomberg Fuel Choices Summit in Tel Aviv last week.
Carbon dioxide and hydrogen are two of the most common elements available on earth.
"There is a pressing need for a game-changing approach to produce alternative, drop-in, liquid transportation fuels by sustainable, technologically viable and environmentally acceptable emissions processes from abundant, low-cost, renewable materials," Hershkowitz added.
He said that BGU has filed patents and is ready to demonstrate and commercialize the new process, which could become a reality within five to 10 years.
The BGU crude oil process produces hydrogen from water, which is mixed with carbon dioxide captured from external sources and synthetic gas. This green feed mixture is placed into a reactor that contains a nano-structured solid catalyst, also developed at BGU, to produce an organic liquid and gas.
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