Oct 30, 2008

CO2 to fuels processes - II

Recently Carbon Sciences, featured in an earlier article on this blog revealed the source of hydrogen for their CO2 to fuels process.
"Dr. Naveed Aslam, inventor of the company's technology and chief technology advisor, commented: "Unlike other CO2 to fuel approaches, Carbon Sciences' technology does not use molecular hydrogen (H2) because the creation and reaction of H2 is very energy intensive. Rather, the company's approach is based on a low energy biocatalytic hydrolysis process where water molecules (H2O) are split into hydrogen atoms (H) and hydroxide ions (OH) using a biocatalyst. The hydrogen atoms (H) are immediately used in the production of hydrocarbons and the free electrons in OH are used to power the various biocatalytic processes." "Our technology is not based on photosynthetic plants where sun light is used to drive biofuel production reactions, such as in algae. Instead, it is based on natural organic chemistry processes that occur in all living organisms where carbon atoms, extracted from CO2, and hydrogen atoms extracted from H2O, are combined to create hydrocarbon molecules using biocatalysts and small amounts of energy. Our innovative technology allows this process to occur on a very large industrial scale through advance nano-engineering of the biocatalysts and highly efficient process design," concluded Dr. Aslam."
My opinions given below:
Understandably Carbon Sciences is justified in not fully revealing the details . However, the splitting of water to produce protons (H+) and hydroxide ions (OH-) still consumes energy. All the biocatalyst does is to speed up this transformation. It cannot influence the thermodynamics (feasibility) of this reaction. Judging by what the release says, I think that there is a sacrificial oxidant (something which gets oxidized, ex: simple sugars, providing the energy to drive the splitting of water) involved.

Related links:
Opinion: CO2 to fuels processes
Carbon Sciences Announces Prototype Plan for CO2-to-Fuel Technology

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