With the environmental and sociopolitical constraints in producing petroleum based fuel, there’s been numerous forays into the alternative energy market, some more successful than others. One company recently raising eyebrows is Air Fuel Synthesis (AFS), with claims it can produce fuel such as ethanol, diesel and petrol out of thin air.
Chairman of Air Fuel Synthesis, energy entrepreneur and Professor Tony Marmont, believes that oil shortages could cause the world serious problems as early as 2015. Such concern transformed into action after Professor Marmont found an alternative fuel source for his helicopter, which then propelled him to put some financial muscle behind AFS strategies.
Comprising a team of “first-class” chemical engineers, scientists and business managers with considerable commercial acumen, this English based company has devised a system which captures air and adds it to a chemical solution. Renewable electricity is then passed through the solution and carbon dioxide is released. This CO2 is then combined with hydrogen to form a hydrocarbon naturally found in crude oil.
While sounding utterly ingenious, Claire Curry from Bloomberg says that Air Fuel Synthesis’ idea, while innovative, is not cost-effective, as the method uses large amounts of expensive green electricity. Then again, she says it doesn’t necessarily matter, as if the company “finds customers who are willing to pay a premium for their green fuel, they’ll never need to be cost competitive”.
Peter Harrison from AFS admits the company has “not considered efficiencies” in its idea, however he’s confident the company can produce crucial clean fuel, such as aviation fuel, while continually improving the technology’s efficiency.
At present, Air Fuel Synthesis claims its research is “adequately equity funded”, although it’s also seeking further investment from commercial entities looking to improve technology to replace oil – as the AFS is determined to ensure there’s a continual supply of oil based products, as it predicts that fossil fuel oils will soon rapidly deplete.
Draw cards to AFS’ ‘air-brained scheme’ is that it runs entirely off renewable electricity, which is essentially carbon neutral, while the process is unrestricted by the price of raw materials, politics, issues of land use and/or food availability. All that remains is a reduction in the cost (or amount) of electricity needed to produce fuel out of thin air.
Check out the Air Fuel Synthesis website for more info.