In a few years, we’ll be mak­ing petrol from air

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Sunday Special - SUN­DAY TIMES OF IN­DIA, NEW DELHI SEPTEM­BER 15, 2019

IAf only we could suck car­bon diox­ide out of the air like plants, and turn it into use­ful things — like petrol, plas­tics and con­crete — the spec­tre of global warm­ing would go away. Sci­en­tists have long toyed with the idea of ‘di­rect air cap­ture (DAC)’, but now it has become a vi­able tech­nol­ogy, says Peter H Dia­man­dis, founder of the XPrize Foun­da­tion.


“In the com­ing 10 years, sourc­ing car­bon out of the air will become more cost­ef­fec­tive than car­bon sourced from the ground (oil). By 2030, the car­bon cap­ture and util­i­sa­tion (CCU) in­dus­try is ex­pected to reach $800 bil­lion.”

Un­like pe­tro­leum, which is found at only a few places, car­bon diox­ide is uni­formly dis­trib­uted in the at­mos­phere. “There is as much car­bon diox­ide above Los Angeles, Cal­i­for­nia as rests above the Patag­o­nian Desert.” This means, you could start mak­ing fuel any­where. There will be no need for con­voys of trucks to carry fuel to Leh. And DAC might be the key to colonis­ing Mars, where the at­mos­phere is 98% car­bon diox­ide. It will also make food there.

While ex­perts say DAC can com­pete with pe­tro­leum once the cost of car­bon ex­trac­tion dips be­low $100 per ton, one startup is al­ready claim­ing $94 per ton, while another prom­ises to do it at $50 per ton on a large scale.

Burn­ing petrol and diesel made from car­bon diox­ide present in the air does not cause global warm­ing

FA­MIL­IAR­ITY BREEDS LOVE, TOO: In the movie ‘Friends with Ben­e­fits’, the pro­tag­o­nists even­tu­ally fall in love af­ter long deny­ing the pos­si­bil­ity

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