Carbon Sciences recently announced a technological breakthrough that is capable of transforming CO2 emissions into fuel. The development utilizes a highly scalable bio-catalytic process to economically convert one of the most omnipresent causes of global warming, CO2, into the basic building blocks of most fuels used to drive transportation and industry today. This new technology could make a tremendous impact upon the 28 billion metric tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere each year by closing the carbon loop and recycling emissions into useful forms of energy.

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Those of you familiar with the physical properties of CO2 molecules know that it takes a lot of energy to break them apart and produce hydrocarbons that can be used for fuel. Carbon Sciences is developing a revolutionary new process that utilizes principles of chemical and bioengineering to achieve the feat:

“The key to our CO2-to-Fuel approach lies in a proprietary multi-step biocatalytic process. Instead of using expensive inorganic catalysts . . . the Carbon Sciences process uses inexpensive, renewable biomolecules to catalyze certain chemical reactions required to transform CO2 into basic hydrocarbon building blocks.”

Since the process occurs at low temperature and low pressure, it stands to be highly energy-efficient, and Carbon Sciences has developed plans for a CO2-Fuel transformation plant that takes CO2 from a large emitter, such as a power plant, and produces usable fuels as the output.

We’re not crazy about the concept of encouraging people to gas-up in the future, and we maintain that clean and renewable forms of energy must be developed, but this new technology does offer the potential to increase energy-efficiency while closing the loop on carbon emissions and preventing their release into the atmosphere.

For those interested in finding out more about the science behind the transformation, check out the Carbon Sciences website.