Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers are developing a process to hydrogenate carbon dioxide to produce a renewable alternative for crude oil. The “green feed” crude can be refined into renewable liquid fuels using established technologies and can be transported using existing infrastructure to gas stations.
The advance is made possible in part using nanomaterials that significantly reduce the amount of energy required in the catalytic process to make the crude oil.
The basic idea behind the synthesis is the combination of two well-known reactions: the Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis (FTS) and the Reverse Water-Gas Shift (RWGS). The BGU crude oil process produces hydrogen from water, which is mixed with carbon dioxide captured from external sources and synthetic gas (syngas). This feed mixture is placed into a reactor that contains a nano-structured solid catalyst, also developed at BGU, to produce an organic liquid and gas.
Ethanol, biodiesel and/or blends of these fuels with conventional fuels are far from ideal. There is a pressing need for a game-changing approach to produce alternative, drop-in, liquid transportation fuels by sustainable, technologically viable and environmentally acceptable emissions processes from abundant, low-cost, renewable materials.
We can now use zero cost resources, carbon dioxide, water, energy from the sun, and combine them to get real fuels. BGU has filed the patents and we are ready to demonstrate and commercialize it. Since there are no foreseen technological barriers, the new process could become a reality within five to 10 years.— BGU’s Prof. Moti Herskowitz
Prof. Moti Herskowitz is the Israel Cohen Chair in Chemical Engineering and the vice president and dean of research and development at BGU. He led the team that also includes Prof. Miron Landau, Dr. Roxana Vidruk and others at BGU’s Blechner Center for Industrial Catalysis and Process Development.
Researchers at the Blechner Center have also developed a novel process for converting vegetable and algae oils to advanced green diesel and jet fuels, as well as a novel process for producing zero-sulfur diesel.
This project is partially supported by I-SAEF (Israel Strategic Alternative Energy Foundation).