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Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL runs on electricity


Around one degree Celsius the earth has been warming since the beginning of industrialization. And the culprit is primarily the mass emission of carbon dioxide. CO2 is produced by the burning of oil, natural gas and coal – in the atmosphere it acts as a climate gas and raises the global average temperature.

To limit climate change, humanity would need to get out of fossil energy sources as quickly as possible. Or at least collect the CO2 that accumulates massively in coal-fired power plants and store it underground.

But we should be working on alternatives in which the climate killer CO2 suddenly turns out to be a useful raw material. One possibility is to produce hydrocarbons such as methanol, ethanol or synthetic fuels from CO2 and hydrogen.

A well-known – but currently hardly economical process. In principle, one can also produce plastics or fertilizers from CO2. Key to it would be water and sunlight. Unfortunately, water is scarce where sunshine is plenty and vice versa. What, if one could provide water for this enrichment process at affordable cost in those countries rich of sunshine?

ArtAqua’s unique technology provides the pure water required for this process at low costs.

Ultimately, it is about imitating natural photosynthesis on an industrial scale. Plants are known to use solar energy to produce sugar through multiple steps of CO2 and water.

Likewise, we could use electric power (elektrolyte process) to convert carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO). In a fermentation process, CO-containing gases are then synthesized into valuable substances – through metabolic processes of microorganisms.

With a production capacity of let’s say up to 20,000 tons per year the production of other specialty chemicals or fuels is conceivable.
The starting point for this is so-called metallurgical gas from steelworks.

It consists among other things of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Again, large amounts of hydrogen (H2) are needed to convert CO2 into methanol, ethanol or synthetic fuels. But, with the H20 splitting becoming feasible due to overcapacity of sunlight and pure water at low cost H2 would become available leaving only O behind, so 100% emission-free.

Fuel from light?

The big challenge is that the process must be very flexible in order to take advantage of short-term electricity price fluctuations. Even if it takes 10 – 15 years before such a sustainable steelworks could be operated economically, it would be worthwhile.

And, there are many more ideas for using CO2 as a raw material: a direct production of fuel from light should be possible within five to ten years – referred to as photocatalysis. In future there could be molecular machines that use CO2.

But, as long as 6 of the 10 major international corporations are fossil fuel companies who dictate the car manufacturers which technology ought to be used the energy-evolution will be further delayed.