NHTSA issues final rule requiring seat belts on new motorcoaches
Toyota to develop hybrid vehicles with two Chinese partners

BGU researchers developing more efficient process for hydrogenation of CO2 to synthetic crude

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).

Comments

Gorr

I always said that im interrested to buy alternate green fuels almost 5 years ago and now these chaps say that it will take another 5 to 10 years... What is so complicated to produce and convert mud into usable products. These products and matters are basically mud, it should be ready now and why wait 5 years. Anyway it should be possible to miniaturize these machine and install it directly into the exhaust flow of a car and you then convert your exhaust flow into fuel while driving.

Roger Pham

@a.b.
Conversion H2 + CO2 to methane has been done via Sabatier rxn. Efficiency and cost is the issue.
According to BGU, "The advance [here] is made possible in part using nanomaterials that significantly reduce the amount of energy required in the catalytic process to make the crude oil." High efficiency will require a large plant and complex machinery, something that can't be done from the exhaust pipe of your car!...but your "pipe dream" will be eventually realized.

What I've been proposing instead was to use waste cellulosic biomass and pyrolyzing it while adding H2 during the pyrolysis process, all in one step, to produce refinable oil into fuels. The use of waste biomass greatly reduces the cost and efficiency loss of obtaining CO2, and the all-in-one step greatly improves efficiency and reduces cost. Portable plant in the trailer bed of an 18-wheeler can be brought to the site of waste biomass and the resulting oil with high energy content can be transported back in truck to the refinery. This can turn the USA's MidWest into Saudi America as far as oil is concerned.

Fast forwarding to the future 10-20 yrs from now, we will see PEV's and FCV's increasingly taking over ICEV, so the need for oil in transportation will be reduced. However, oil will still be needed for synthesis feedstock of plastics and organic chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and for jet planes that still will need a very energy-dense source of fuel, and for PHEV's during extended range operation. Trucks, trains, and ships can use H2.

Engineer-Poet

Where'd your H2 come from, Roger?

Roger Pham

The same way that BGU (Ben-Gurion University) will produce their H2: "The BGU crude oil process produces hydrogen from water, which is mixed with carbon dioxide captured from external sources and synthetic gas (syngas)."

The MidWest USA also has plenty of sunshine in the summers, springs and falls for PV panels, plus a lot of wind energy potential yet to be tapped. Long transmission lines will be needed to tap these wind electricity to the east coast that will increase the cost of wind electricity to the grid. However, if synthetic crude oil can be produced there via wind, solar, and biomass resourses, and transported to the refineries in the Gulf area via existing pipelines, then Saudi America will really take off. No sea water there, but plenty of waste biomass from farming.

The Middle East has a lot of sunshine and desert land, perfect for solar PV. Thru electrolysis of sea water, H2 will be produced. CO2 can come from sea water as well, at a CO2 concentration 140x that of air, to use the same method as US Naval Research Lab proposed.

Once synthetic oil can be produced at reasonable cost, HEV's and PHEV's will be completely CO2-free, and can be with us for a long time. Synthetic oil won't be as energy efficient as PEV's and FCV's, however, if it is cost-competitive and more convenient, then it can be an additionally viable way to propel future transportation.

Roger Pham

need to close italics Testing.

kalendjay

Where does the H2 come from? For that matter, where does the syngas come from, which is just CO + H2? From an oil refinery of course. Presumably the BGU process will derive long-chain polymers more efficiently from the syngas than traditional refining can from petroleum. It's mostly a matter of separating and recombining the CO and H2 with greater care than refineries do, supressing side reactions, and condensing the product. Refineries would jump on it.

As for using biomass instead of petroleum, I find little evidence that the former is a cheaper or less energy intensive process. There is a lost art of steaming wood chips to get turpentine and other goodies. You can remove wood tars by directing the smoke through twigs and leaves. But distillation columns do the equivalent more selectively and efficiently.

Engineer-Poet

If electrolytic H2 isn't a competitive fuel on its own, synthetic hydrocarbons derived from it aren't going to be competitive either.

Roger Pham

@kalendjay,
You miss the entire intention of Ben-Gurion University, that is, to produce renewable synthetic fuel from H2 from water and combine it with CO2. Petroleum, or dino juice, will soon be a thing of the past, along with the dinosaurs! You are skeptical that this will be cheaper or efficient...but the whole point of this article is that BGU is trying to lower the cost and raise the efficiency of this process.

Roger Pham

@E-P,
Electrolytic H2 will become a competitive fuel on its own in the near future. Fossil fuels is becoming more scarce and expensive, while RE and electrolysis equipments are becoming cheaper and cheaper and Platinum-free. At a point in the near future, these two curves will intersect at a cost parity point, afterwhich, synthetic fuels will be the economical choice. There is no doubt about that!

Engineer-Poet
Electrolytic H2 will become a competitive fuel on its own in the near future.

Even assuming you're right about that, how are you going to get this H2 (or the power to make it) to your portable biomass gasifiers?

Synthetic hydrocarbons are rapidly losing the economic race with batteries.  If you're starting from electricity, it makes no sense to convert to something else and back again.

Roger Pham

The H2 will flow in current NG piping that will be upgraded to become H2-compatible. The power to make it will come from solar PV and wind turbines dispersed in farm land near H2 piping.

Right, synthetic HC's, so far as we know, are not as efficient nor as economical to produce as compared to batteries or to H2-FC. For that reason, it is hoped that BGU's technology will be able to narrow the difference to a significant extent. ICE enthusiasts will want to preserve the throaty roar of a V-8 or a V-twin Harley, or the smell of diesel or kerosene exhaust...In the future, they can do it without CO2 emission (CO2 neutral).

Roger Pham

Furthermore, many people won't be comfortable with hauling batteries or H2 tank around, and will prefer to stick with well known stuff, liquid fuel such as HC's. Kit P will continue to drive in his old PU or his wife's Corolla, and prefer to drive less, no matter how economical PEV's or FCV's will be. This is entirely honorable and reflects the right to freedom of choice in our society.

Engineer-Poet
The H2 will flow in current NG piping that will be upgraded to become H2-compatible.

This piping... you're going to run it to farm fields and national forest tracts?

ICE enthusiasts will want to preserve the throaty roar of a V-8 or a V-twin Harley, or the smell of diesel or kerosene exhaust...In the future, they can do it without CO2 emission (CO2 neutral).

Noise and chemical pollution.  I'd just as soon relegate those things to race tracks.

many people won't be comfortable with hauling batteries or H2 tank around

Anyone driving a car more sophisticated than a Model T is hauling a starting battery everywhere they go.  Most people carry cell phones, laptops or tablets, headsets and so forth which all use rechargeable batteries.  The agitprop efforts to spread FUD about batteries will sputter and die out when people see how they work in real life.

10,000 PSI hydrogen tanks... that may be another matter.  The sort of road-hazard damage that's hit a few Model S's would easily sever plumbing in H2 systems, and one hydrogen fire would kill FCEV sales.  The likelihood of fatalities from H2 fires is much higher as well, especially given that the flames are invisible and bystanders could be caught unawares.

will prefer to stick with well known stuff, liquid fuel such as HC's.

Given the coming price disadvantage and ease of use of the alternatives, I doubt there will be many holdouts.

Roger Pham

@E-P,
Extensive system of NG piping now exist in rural area of the Midwest. It would be a simple matter of making these piping H2 compatible.

I'd bet that V-8 Corvette and V-twin Harley will continue to sell. This also serves the point that economics is often not the primary criteria in vehicular purchasing decision. Otherwise, Luxury cars, SUV's, and sport cars won't sell at all, yet, they are selling very well.

A 10,000 psi tank and plumbing must be very robust to withstand that kind of force imposed. Road hazard will be nothing. The Tesla is vulnerable because the battery is mounted on the underside right where road debris could hit. The Volt and Fusion Energi would be a lot less prone to road debris induced fire due to the more secure mounting of the battery, and the same is true for FCV's, with everything well-protected inside the car's frame and body. In a survivable crash, the fuel system in a FCV will likely remain intact. The same is not true for ICEV's or for some BEV's.

Henry Gibson

About solar energy:
About 1000 watts for each square meter of area of solar energy arrives at the earths atmosphere, and some of this arrives at the surface to heat it or to grow plants. About one horsepower per square yard arrives at the surface. The most efficient converters of solar energy are either very expensive very high technology solar cells or Stirling engines at a mirror's focus and these are 40 percent maximum efficiency and neither are very cheap. Standard high production solar cells are less than 20 percent efficient. Any picture of ant solar installation will show a wide gap where solar energy is wasted as well it should be. Solar energy is cheap but it costs a great deal to collect it which is why all wind and solar energy collector would fail economically without government laws and subsidies.

Cheap energy is the basis of the present human civilization which makes it possible to grow enough food and to transport it long distances and to preserve and prepare it so that billions of people can be fed. The last years that solar energy supplied the human race with most of the energy that it used was the period between 1650 and 1850. If coal mines and oil and gas wells were shut down today six billion people at least would be dead in six months. Every tree in the UK would be gone in two months except those not in walking distance of a human population.

Almost all fossil fuels are solar energy stored. There might be a little bit of methane left from when the earth was created. And then some free hydrogen might be produced by the earths intense internal heat.

Many biologists believe that the oxygen in the earths atmosphere was mostly created from water by plants using solar energy and the hydrogen was formed into hydrocarbons by combining with the massive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere at that time to first form carbohydrates which are then formed into coal and oil and gas.

Electric automobiles are the best use of solar energy. Excess electricity should be converted into metallic sodium for use as fuel in electric automobiles or to supply mains electricity. ..HG..

..HG..

Engineer-Poet
Extensive system of NG piping now exist in rural area of the Midwest. It would be a simple matter of making these piping H2 compatible.

I am quite familiar with rural areas of the Midwest.  There's no NG piping in most of it.  The titanic cold capsules of propane tanks are ubiquitous fixtures—and that's just in the areas where there are roads.  You are dreaming if you think you can hook up to a distribution pipeline in a national or even state forest, where your typical lumbering site would be.  This is completely aside from the "simple matter" of upgrading old and possibly plastic piping to carry slippery, 3x-as-voluminous hydrogen.

I'd bet that V-8 Corvette and V-twin Harley will continue to sell.

When the Corvette is slower 0-60 than a Tesla, the Corvette will either electrify or lose its cachet.  I would not be surprised to see the typical Harley banned from public roads due to illegal mufflers.

A 10,000 psi tank and plumbing must be very robust to withstand that kind of force imposed. Road hazard will be nothing.

It takes some extraordinary road hazard to damage the Model S battery.  The failure develops slowly enough to get out of the car in plenty of time to stay safe, and the monitoring systems detect and warn the driver.  A strike which hits an FCEV's H2 line or fitting could go from functional to catastrophic failure in a second or less.

I could see someone shipping hydrogen to fields and timber sites as anhydrous NH3, and electrolyzing it to get H2.  Maybe even LH2, if it becomes common enough.  Pipes?  Not when the growth cycle of a tract takes decades.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)