Sunday, November 30, 2008

Air Force Renewables Dream: Carbon Dioxide to Jet Fuel

As an F-15 hurtles skyward, hydrocarbon jet fuel converts to energy, heat and CO2 at a rate of dozens of gallons of JP8 per minute. Fuel moves our aircraft, ground vehicles and most of our ships, but often comes from less-than-reliable places at more than affordable prices, and creates CO2 when it's combusted. One company in Santa Barbara, CA is developing a means to reverse that process by combining water and CO2 to get fuel.

Carbon Sciences' first prototype is set to run early in early 2009. Some will argue that the end result of this process is CO2 when the jet flies again so that's more greenhouse gas production. But on the other hand, if this works as planned, and the fuel is made from CO2, which everyone is trying to figure out to limit or sequester from a climate change perspective, then we've got a CO2 loop with net zero production.

As this blog concerns itself with energy security, economics and climate issues in that order, this is a potential huge win. Carbon Sciences is just getting started, but their claims that this process will scale could make them a very interesting player in the Air Force's next generation fuels efforts.

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