A small company has found a way to synthesize Petrol form air and water

A small company has found a way to synthesize Petrol form air and water

A small company working in two converted shipping containers says it has found a way to make petrol from fresh air and water. Air Fuel Synthesis Chief Executive Peter Harrison says the process could help curb climate change by providing a cleaner alternative to oil.

Before anyone breathes even a small sigh of relief, the energy it takes to produce this is more than the energy produced.

Timo | 31 janvier 2013

So it is same as hydrogen fuel cell, but smarter. Good.

Benz | 31 janvier 2013

This discovery is not going to be of any harm to the developing demand for EV's.

There is one thing that is good about this synthetic petrol. And that is that it is better to use this synthetic petrol than petrol that comes from oil (which is a real disaster for our planet).

Although the energy it takes to produce this synthetic petrol is more than the energy produced, it still could be useful up to a certain level. Offcourse, nothing beats EV's that can be driven on electricity which is generated through solar panels using pure sunlight (although wind energy is not bad either).

I think that at a certain point in time (2050?) the fast majority of vehicles on the road will be electric. But not 100%!!! There will always be people who will be stubborn. They will never leave their vehicles with an ICE. Let's say that 1% of all the vehicles on the road will be vehicles with an ICE. To make it possible for these stubborn people to drive their ICE vehicles, I would say let them use this synthetical petrol (which can be produced by using solar energy and wind energy). It might be inefficient, yes. But that is not the most important priority. The really most important priority is that we eliminate consumption of oil (petrol etc.). This synthetic petrol can be used to keep these stubborn people happy, and not having them polluting the environment, at the same time. Think about it. There is unlimited sunshine and wind. We have the technology to build/construct/manufactur/engineer all things that we need to make this possible.

Thinking that one day all the vehicles on our planet will be electric is appealing and ideal, but it is not realistic (because of the stubborn part of mankind).

Timo | 31 janvier 2013

More like 2025 than 2050 IMO. I don't think many ICE cars survive longer than that.

One day not far in future there will not be any ICE cars beyond museum-pieces simply because they break down and no-one repairs them anymore. Other ICE vehicles might survive a bit longer, and not all will be battery-electric because it would be stupid to use that to everything.

Benz | 31 janvier 2013

@ Timo
I would prefer a world with only EV. And the earlier the better. So, 2025 sounds good to me as well. Let that be clear.

Do not underestimate how stubborn people can be. There are people who restore old cars because they are so passionate about certain models from the past. They take these cars from scratch and they invest loads of money and time into it, just to have them restored in original condition because they have this passion for these cars. These people drive these cars on a sunny day just for fun. And they drive these cars a few 1,000 km per year in total. These people do not care about efficiency or money. For them it's the passion that counts. Do not underestimate the passion of these stubborn people.

Timo | 31 janvier 2013

That's how I define "museum-piece", and I'm OK with that.

Benz | 31 janvier 2013

These people have these old cars not only to look at them (in a museum), but also to really drive in these old cars. And when they really have to do that, I would prefer them doing that using this new synthetic petrol rather than petrol that comes from oil. That is my point.

Runar | 31 janvier 2013

This process go via hydrogen. It uses even more energy, as hydrogen electrolysis is only a part of the process.

Not sure if this will be a viable path, way to energy consuming. As a chrisis solution if we run out of oil tomorrow, perhaps..

DHrivnak | 31 janvier 2013

TIMO are you serious about 2025? That is a scant 12 years away. EV's are struggleing to reach .5% market share. Do you really think all car companies will be able to convert to EV's in 12 years even if they wanted to?

I have had many cars over 20 years old, not show cars not museum cars just basic transportation cars. Even if we were to go 100% EV by 2025 there will be millions of ICE cars still road worthy.

While I own an EV and believe it is the future we have a LONG way to go. A very long way.

Benz | 31 janvier 2013

@ Runar
Even if we do not run out of oil. We have to stop burning oil in any case. That's the whole point. And as long as there will be ICE vehicles, people will want to drive in them as well. So, we need something that can be used to as fuel for these ICE vehicles, so that there will be no pollution. This synthetic petrol (which can be produced with solar energy and wind energy) can be the sollution for that. Even if it is not efficient. The point is that we need something to keep these stubborn people happy with their ICE vehicles. As these stubborn people will never put a foot in a EV. That's their choice. It would not be my choice. I like EV.

Benz | 31 janvier 2013

@ DHrivnak
So, 2050 (my initial estimate) is more likely?

Tiebreaker | 31 janvier 2013

Now we just need to make coal from air, then wood from air... and complete the circle. :-P

This is ridiculous. Here is a better analysis:

"Sixty kWh of electric energy are used up to store 9 kWh of that energy in a liter of gasoline. "... "To synthesize sufficient gasoline to supply the world's present consumption would require about half of all energy currently being used by civilization in any form – heating, manufacturing, lighting, transportation, and so on."

Brian H | 31 janvier 2013

LOL Yes, it's inane. Where do all the kWh come from to make the synthetic oil?

For the incurably dim, when energy in > energy out, you have a net SINK. A bottomless HOLE. You can never pour enough into it to fill it (break even), much less build a hill. BTW, hydrocarbons are not going away. To quote one industry letter, some experts are now calling the US' supply of natural gas "effectively infinite". It is by far the cheapest source of energy currently in existence, and as such is empowering the revival of whole industries in the US.

Timo | 31 janvier 2013

@DHrivnak "TIMO are you serious about 2025? That is a scant 12 years away. EV's are struggleing to reach .5% market share"

That's just because Tesla is just starting ;-)

When big old ones see how Tesla starts to eat their share in serious way they get serious at doing their own versions of the car. I believe that a company with several times the resources Tesla has doesn't have any trouble to make proper EV in record time if they really wanted. Problem just is that there is no will for that to happen (yet).

Though 2025 is too soon, I just reacted to 2050 which is too far into future IMO. Problem with me is that it feels like 2003 and not 2013. We should have already colonized Mars and wondering about terraforming Venus. World seems to come several decades behind Tesla.

Benz | 1 février 2013

@ Brian H
What about the stubborn people who will never let go of their ICE vehicles? Just let them keep on burning petrol (that comes from oil)? Like this, pollution will never stop.

Brian H | 1 février 2013

The amount of pollution from modern cars is not actually an issue. And CO2 is not a pollutant. If anything, it's an agricultural resource. By any and all measures, it's effect on climate is scientifically negligible, and positive were it measurable.

When the Cooling starts, we'll wish it weren't so, however. (We're overdue to start back on the slide into the Little Ice Age, or even the Big Ice Age. You won't like it.)

Joshua Burstyn | 1 février 2013

@Brian H:

"The amount of pollution from modern cars is not actually an issue."

I'm going to have to disagree, but I will say that my little Hyundai Accent was recently e-tested and blew 1/100th of the allowable emissions on most of the specific tests. It was impressive. You are definitely right in that modern automobiles are better at containing many types of emissions. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to move towards EVs and possibly targeted hybrids though! (If for no other reason than we need to keep oil for other purposes.)

jat | 1 février 2013

@BrianH - the battery in your Model S is like that -- more energy goes into it than you get out of it. So, just that fact isn't sufficient to dismiss this, but the scale of that inefficiency and the fact you still wind up with all the emissions issues is.

Also, the current levels of natural gas production are only possible with fracking, which has issues all its own.

Superliner | 1 février 2013

Energy "in" to a battery pack vs "energy out" is not an an accurate model because the battery is a storage platform. The pack does not generate energy, it stores it much like a gas tank in an ICE.

So over the packs lifetime it probably stores / delivers much more usable energy to power ?? than it takes to build it.

Brian H | 1 février 2013

If it took more energy to produce electricity than was produced (I am talking about expended energy), you would never get a kW over the wires to put in the battery. It would be like spending $15 to earn $10 total return.

RNB | 2 février 2013

Can they synthesize gold from lead also?

olanmills | 3 février 2013

"What about the stubborn people who will never let go of their ICE vehicles?"

I think you guys are being a bit unfair. Eventually, most people will recognize that an EV will work fine for them 90% of the time. When the costs come down, I think there will be a day when almost all the cars driving around are EV's.

When we get to that point, we won't care if a very small percentage of people use an ICE. In fact, I think that's the beauty of it. It will be about a significant has cows farting or you and I exhaling CO2.

90% of people are happy with their commuter cars, and they don't care how ir works, as long as it does. Then there's some others who love to drive their special cars, whatever it is, every day, and still there's others who have some kind of special car they use for special occassions, like car shows, or racing, or whatever.

I think that's the beauty of it. When the vast majority of driving is done by EV, we won't care if a small amount of enthusiasts use ICE for whatever they like. It simply won't be that significant.

Yes, I believe there will be a hump that we need to get over, where your so-called "stubborn" people might hesitate to buy an EV, but eventually, it will be seen as silly not too, assuming the technology, and the industry really works. Switches like these always take time, and I feel like the economics and quality of EVs will eventually work out in the market. I don't feel like we should "push" EV's on people, and I don't feel that we will ever need to either. It will come about naturally.

Benz | 4 février 2013

Yes, in the end we should be happy with the fact that the fast majority will be driving an EV. And the few people who will not be driving an EV? They will be too few and they will not be able to cause any substantial problems.

Joshua Burstyn | 4 février 2013
Joshua Burstyn | 4 février 2013


"Yes, in the end we should be happy with the fact that the fast majority will be driving an EV. And the few people who will not be driving an EV? They will be too few and they will not be able to cause any substantial problems."

I am usually fairly pedantic and inflexible about ICE-based cards but I think it's important for some recreational and historic vehicles to remain in service. Besides, we don't want to be entirely disabled for transportation the next time the electrical grid goes down.

Essentially I think many of us would like to see a strong mix of environmentally-concious vehicles available for purchase/rent or as part of our public transport network.

Benz | 4 février 2013

As long as the pollution of the planet is minimized enormously, it's OK with me.

lph | 4 février 2013

About being disabled with a blackout...
I see that some time in the not too distant future, away from the city centers they will be more independent of the grid because of solar panels on the roof of their homes. There is some good development progress here too. Sun is everywhere so collection of its energy can be too (almost but maybe not near the poles). Then there is wind energy too. This is what I like about EV's, they are the ultimate flex-fuel vehicles. It helps to make one less dependent on the big corporations for energy. I also see home and community based power generation with the grid essentially serving as a balancing the demand capacity equation.

Benz | 4 février 2013

In the future we will more and more rely on the sun and the wind as our main sources of energy.

Brian H | 5 février 2013

Or not. 's Focus Fusion would replace them all forever at 1% the cost.

Brian H | 5 février 2013

And with 1% of 1% of the environmental destruction and waste.

Benz | 5 février 2013

Right, I forgot about that one. But it has not been completely finalised yet, but it seems that they will do that in a few years time. I hope that they will manage to do it.

Therefore I only mentioned the sun and the wind, as these technologies are already available today.

Brian H | 5 février 2013

IMO, they are grossly overpriced, damaging technologies on the large scale; suitable for small isolated applications, being misapplied to large systems. They cannot cover base load, only interfere with the economical operation of power plants that can. As proven by the soaring power prices wherever they are relied upon.

The Invisible Hand: You WILL pay the real prices for goods and services, however much you try to avoid it.

Joshua Burstyn | 5 février 2013

Maybe we should pay the "real" cost. Nothing makes people waste less than facing economic consequence.

Damian | 27 septembre 2013


"Yes, in the end we should be happy with the fact that the fast majority will be driving an EV."

I like your translation of the vernacular, especially when applied to the individuals who can afford the $90,000 price tag. Indeed these would be considered the "fast"

Brian H | 27 septembre 2013

The $90K car is a way-station. Fools and babies should never see unfinished work. (Scots saying).