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How is carbon dioxide recycled from the air into jet fuel?

How is carbon dioxide recycled from the air into jet fuel?

March 3, 2024, 5:00 AM

In order to slow climate change, there are attempts to filter carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This system has recently been put into practice in Great Britain. The filtered carbon dioxide will then be used again to produce jet fuel. Futuristic technology or an expensive spinning factory?

By Elka Wilde, MDR Actwell

the The name suggests what it's about: Mission Zero is a company that recently started removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in Great Britain and turning it into jet fuel. To do this, large fans direct ambient air into a separator where pure carbon dioxide is separated from this air using hot solvents.

Philip Chadwick, President of Mission Zero, explains what happens next with the captured CO2: “It's about combining the CO2 that will be captured with a green hydrogen source and then converting it into a carbon-based molecule that is chemically identical to a product like what you're making. ” Find fossil fuels.” However, the molecule has no emissions associated with it because it originates from the emissions themselves. This could create a circular product, Chadwick says.

Removing carbon dioxide from the air is like removing dirt from dirty laundry – this seems like a simple solution to our climate problems. But it's not that simple. Because the air consists of only 0.04% carbon dioxide. To get this out of the air, you need a huge amount of water and, above all, energy.

The technology can also be used to produce building materials

for this reason These technologies are being questioned very carefully at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research: “The key thing is whether this is a system capable of using renewable energies to meet energy needs or whether it uses waste heat generated by industrial processes, or whether it should use energy,” says Danny Otto. “It could be obtained differently. We might have fossil operations again,” who works to realize and evaluate technologies at the institute. Otherwise, Otto says, the high energy requirements will at least negate what is achieved by removing carbon dioxide.

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But here in Mission Zero, you're already on the right track. Solar energy is used for the system, but it is very small at 50 tons of CO2 removal per year.

Philip Chadwick remains convinced by the idea as it is the first pilot project of its kind to be used by a customer: “The volume has been designed to meet their needs. We will be delivering larger systems with a 250 tonne capacity next year “Our vision is to build a 1,000 tonne capacity product as a modular product that can be doubled for whatever capacity is required.”

Chadwick says the extracted carbon could not only be used to produce jet fuel, but also to produce construction materials.

Industrial use is still far away

Danny Otto from the Center for Environmental Research explains that research into these technologies is also being carried out in Germany: “There are also research projects, for example in the context of the CDR Terra research, which deal with processes of extracting carbon dioxide from the ground. Here we are also considering the possibility The use of carbon dioxide in building materials, either as an additive to concrete or to produce alternative building materials. “This already exists and has potential.”

Naturally The use of these technologies on an industrial scale is still a long way off. However, Danny Otto also believes it is important to look out for it. In the future, it could be a good addition to other CO2 removal processes such as reforestation or CO2 avoidance strategies.

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