Fill ‘er up with a gallon of ‘water gasoline’

Written by David Shamah, The Times of Israel

Alternative fuels have failed to catch on because they require a major adjustment in the way society works. Here’s an alternative to that.

While everyone agrees that alternatives to fossil fuels are needed, currently available alternatives require such a major an adjustment in manufacturing and social infrastructure so as to render the whole project untenable.
 
Besides, said Professor Moti Herskowitz of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, even if the world could be convinced to replace internal combustion engines in cars and trucks with engines that run on electricity, methanol, or other gasoline replacements, there remains one major problem. “If you notice, no one ever discusses alternative fuels for jets. No one wants a problem in the air, which makes jet fuel irreplaceable right now,” Herskowitz said.
 
filling up

Considering the fact that over 10% of crude oil is used for jet fuel, it appears that refined oil is going to be around for a long time.
 

If you can’t beat ‘em, then join ‘em, says Herskowitz. With a revolutionary system for making gasoline out of hydrogen extracted from water, and from carbon dioxide, two of the most common substances on earth, Herskowitz believes that he and his team at Ben-Gurion (including Prof. Miron Landau, Dr. Roxana Vidruk, and others at BGU’s Blechner Center for Industrial Catalysis and Process Development) have come up with the one alternative fuel that can succeed on a wide scale.

 
Herskowitz’s fuel is the realization of generations of inventors as well as environmentalists — a clean-burning fuel that that can replace refined oil in existing engines, saving society the huge cost, not to mention hassle, of changing everything to accommodate new fuel technologies. That no-pain changeover from fossil fuels to clean alternative energy is why the system he and his team have developed has a far better chance of being adopted by business and industry than do other alternative fuels, Herskowitz told The Times of Israel in an exclusive interview. “The fuel our method will produce will go right into the gas tank, as it exists now. The other solutions are very valid, but the issue will be applying them, and with our method that is not an issue.”

Professor Moti Herskowitz (Photo credit: Courtesy)Professor Moti Herskowitz (Photo credit: Courtesy)
 

As an example, Herskowitz points to the experience of Better Place. “Their idea was to build a new infrastructure for fueling cars, but they were unable to get it off the ground, even after spending hundreds of millions. In the end, the company and the government realized that completing this infrastructure would just cost too much money.

 
”The failure of Better Place does not augur well for other alternative fuels that seek to replace fossil fuels, he added. But with the “green feed” system that he and his team have developed, said Herskowitz, we can have it all — a clean-burning fuel that doesn’t require “dirty” power to produce (as is the case with batteries for electric cars, which are produced in factories that burn fossil fuels), or the redirection of valuable food growing resources to the production of crops to be used for alcohol-based fuel (a process that has turned out to cause far more damage to the environment than had been foreseen).
 
In Herskowitz’s system, gasoline, jet fuel, and other oil-based liquid fuels are produced by taking hydrogen and mixing it with carbon dioxide. This gas mixture is fed into a reactor packed with a nano-structured solid catalyst — also developed at BGU — to produce the “green feed,” an organic liquid and a gas that contain reactive hydrocarbons, said Herskowitz.The result is a substance similar to synthetic crude oil, which could be converted into gasoline using technology that dates back to before World War II.
 
The team has conducted numerous tests, and have found that the hydrogen/carbon dioxide gas produced by the system is as efficient as oil-based gasoline, if not more so — and it’s nonpolluting, as well. Herskowitz introduced his system last week at the Bloomberg Fuel Choices Summit in Tel Aviv last week.
 
“It is envisaged that the short-term implementation of the process will combine synthetic gas produced from various renewable and alternative sources with carbon dioxide and hydrogen,” he said at the event.
 
“Since there are no foreseen technological barriers, the new process should become a reality within five to ten years.”
 
Read more at: The Times of Israel

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Comments (6)

  • Avatar

    Charles Higley

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    It also goes unmentioned above that it is far cheaper in energy use to refine oil and gasoline than it is to take water and CO2 to make fuel.

    An amount of energy greater than the energy content of the product fuel MUST be used to make the fuel as there is no free lunch and there always has to be energy lost in any process for it to be efficient and viable—increased randomness is a requirement. It is much more energy efficient to use energy stored in hydrocarbons from nuclear repulsion reactions in the Earth’s core than it is to recreate this in a factory and pretend to be efficient and “green.”

    It is the abiotic source of gas and oil, produced in the core that makes this entire enterprise a waste of time and money.

  • Avatar

    FauxScienceSlayer

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    “Fossil Fuel” in an intentional misnomer and “peak oil” is a provably wrong hypothesis, see the PSI post “Fracturing the Fossil Fuel Fable”. The only reliable sources for Hydrogen to complete this process would come from Earth stored Hydrocarbons of from electrolysis of water using electricity, both yielding LESS net energy. This process of combining Hydrogen with Carbon is the same process that takes place throughout the Universe in the natural, non-fossil process of Hydrocarbon production.

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    John Marshall

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    Replacements for fossil fuels are not needed since there is plenty to go round and it is possible to make liquid petroleum fuels from basics though more expensive. CO2 does not cause climate change the sun does that all on its own.

  • Avatar

    albertellul

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    “…fuels are produced by taking hydrogen and mixing it with carbon dioxide. This gas mixture is fed into a reactor packed with a nano-structured solid catalyst — also developed at BGU — to produce the “green feed,” an organic liquid and a gas that contain reactive hydrocarbons, said Herskowitz. The result is a substance similar to synthetic crude oil, which could be converted into gasoline using technology that dates back to before World War II.”

    Fine, buttThe author fails to explain how and what source of energy is utilized to produce that hydrogen. We all know that the bond between the two hydrogen atoms and the oxygen one in the water molecule are quite stubborn and one needs quite a lot of energy to break. Electrolysis is, until today, the only method of separating H and O2 in the water molecule and that makes it economically not viable.

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    carlallen

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    Sorry about the dead link in the above post. Here is one that should work:

    [url]http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php[/url]

    [i]”The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change was created to disseminate factual reports and sound commentary on new developments in the world-wide scientific quest to determine the climatic and biological consequences of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content.” [/i]

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    carlallen

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    [i][b]“While everyone agrees that alternatives to fossil fuels are needed”[/b][/i]

    No they don’t. The idea that the world needs alternatives to fossil fuels was a meme foisted on the world by the Club of Rome when they published the book “Limits to Growth” in the early 1970’s that was based on a long discredited computer model that incorporated the “peak oil” myth but didn’t have human ingenuity programmed into it.

    What we have since learned is that “Limiting Growth” is nothing more than their political agenda rather than an accurate description of human potential. For example human ingenuity has within the past ten years created billions of barrels of oil out of a previously useless geological formation underlying Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba called the Bakken formation. Absent human ingenuity the Bakken formation was nothing but useless buried rock; now it is an abundant energy source.

    The only reason we would want to use expensive, unreliable and even as yet unavailable “alternative” energy sources (such as the “water gasoline” mentioned in this article) and leave the Bakken formation alone is because of the “Big Lie” that has been foisted upon the world—the superstitious notion that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. We are being asked to believe that since harvesting energy from hydrocarbon combustion produces carbon dioxide as a by-product it is “dirty” energy and fossil fuel use must therefore be abandoned. In line with this modern day superstition this article faithfully tows the line and refers to fossil fuel as “dirty” energy. [i]“ . . . a clean-burning fuel that doesn’t require ‘dirty’ power to produce (as is the case with batteries for electric cars, which are produced in factories that burn fossil fuels.)”[/i]

    The scientific reality is this: carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless air-bourn plant fertilizer that human beings exhale at concentrations 100 time that of ambient air. Thousands of scientific experiment show that plants grow the best in concentrations that are 4-5 time the present atmospheric levels and also enables plants to grow with less water, less sunlight and at higher temperatures. See [url]http://wwwco2science.org[/url]

    Beyond that the idea that carbon dioxide has a measureable affect on the temperature of the atmosphere has never progressed beyond a mathematical hypothetical and has only been seen to cause atmospheric warming in computer programs that have been programmed show as much—computer programs that are near universally out of sync with observed reality.

    The fact is the “water gasoline” spoken of in this article takes more energy to synthesize than is recovered when it is burned. So, the only reason to synthesize hydrocarbons rather than to harvest ready made hydrocarbons out of the Earth’s crust is because of the superstitious belief that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” and therefore fossil fuels that produce them are “dirty” and need to be replaced.

    Carl

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