Climate Change Solution 2019: New Carbon Technology Turns CO2 Into Liquid Fuel

Scientists developed a technology that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is believd to be a possible solution to climate change, and it is being financed by fossil fuel companies.

Carbon Engineering, a group of British Columbia-based scientists announced that they have found a cost-efficient method that extracts carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. According to the BBC, their findings caught the attention of fossil fuel companies who subsequently funded $68 million of investments to the project. These companies include the coal giant BHP, Chevron and Occidental.

The scientists’ carbon dioxide removal (CDR) project was actually announced last year. "All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5C with limited or no overshoot project the use of CDR ... over the 21st century," the team said.

They further claimed that its direct air capture (DAC) method captures carbon dioxide for under $100 a ton. They referred to the rate as a cost-effective approach that could regulate the harmful effects of climate change.

How Does It Work?

About 410 of carbon dioxide for every million particles of air exist in our atmosphere. This warming gas drives temperatures up, and it is very difficult to extract from the environment. The new carbon technology would suck the air, expose it to a chemical solution that concentrates the carbon dioxide and purify the air into a form that may be stored as liquid fuel.

Converting carbon dioxide into liquid fuel is complicated yet possible. The captured gas would be mixed with hydrogen from water and green electricity before it is passed over a catalyst at 900C. The process would then result in carbon monoxide before adding more hydrogen that makes it into synthesis gas. Afterward, a Fischer-Tropsch process would then transform the product into crude oil.

As per Live Science, the level of carbon dioxide present in our atmosphere today is at its maximum compared to the past three million years. The rise of the greenhouse gas is responsible for the drastic climate change that causes the ice caps to melt and increases the world’s temperature to alarming heights.

Carbon, an element in the greenhouse gas compound, traps heat and regulates the world’s climate. Less carbon in the atmosphere would mitigate climate change. Therefore, the new carbon technology could limit the presence of carbon in the atmosphere and address global warming.