Gasoline from Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide - Vanadium Nitrogenase Points the Way

Gasoline from Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide -  Vanadium Nitrogenase Points the Way
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What? Run your car on air? Does it sound too good to be true? No, it is not so. Air can be applied as fuel for cars! In reality gasoline from air can fuel your car. Yes, you read that correctly: you can use air as fuel for your car and save on your fuel costs.

Exactly the present situation in this world prompts us to go for alternative fuels, and this is the right time for us to put this technology of “gasoline from air” into practice. Since the price of gas is ever increasing and the earth is getting hotter due to pollution, you will be doing a service to mankind by using air as fuel. You can drive using air as your fuel and laugh at the rising cost of gas. This has to be the immediate solution to the energy crisis that we are facing on this planet.

Soya Bean Plants for Air Car

Image: FlickR, “Bean There,” by pawpaw67

How to Produce Gasoline from Thin Air

Actually the roots of soybeans contain an enzyme which holds the key for cars to run on air. The R & D for this is still in its embryo stage, but scientists believe that this study would surely lead to new and environment friendly methods of producing fuel which could be ultimately converted into gasoline – from thin air.

The above concept is based on vanadium nitrogenase, the enzyme that usually brings out ammonia from nitrogen gas, and also has the capacity to change carbon monoxide (CO). CO is in reality an ordinary industrial derivative which could be converted into propane with the help of this enzyme.

According to Markus Ribbe, who is a scientist at the University of California, Irvine, “This organism is a very common soil bacterium that is very well understood and has been studied for a long time. But while we were studying it, we realized that the enzyme has some unusual behavior.”

While undertaking the study Ribbe and his co-authors separated one special enzyme, vanadium nitrogenase, to convert nitrogen into ammonia. Then the nitrogen and oxygen from the enzyme were removed and the area was filled with CO. The enzyme, in the absence of oxygen and nitrogen started to convert CO into short chains of carbon. The carbon had only 2-3 atoms in it. To this profound discovery, Ribbe explained, “Obviously this could lead to new ways to create synthetic liquid fuels if we can make longer carbon-carbon chains.”

The importance of the enzyme has long being known since it is normally applied in farming for nitrogen-fixing plants like soybeans. It is only in the last few years that engineering was formulated to remove, cultivate, and store large amounts of the enzyme. Of course to make this bacterial enzyme a convenient industrial device will still take some research work.

There is only one drawback and that is linked to the removal of the enzyme. Thus to run your car on air you will have to wait until further studies are taken up to perfect this technology.

Apart from CO, other research also says that CO2 could be used to convert thin air as fuel for cars. A senior Lecturer in Chemistry from the University of Bath, Dr. Frank Marken, said: “Current processes rely on using separate technology to capture and utilize the CO2, which makes the process very inefficient. By combining the processes, the efficiency can be improved and the energy required to drive the CO2 reduction is minimized. It will be a massive challenge, but we have a strong inter-disciplinary team that includes chemists, chemical engineers, biologists, and life-cycle analysts.”

Presently the project according to Dr. Marken is attempting to produce porous materials which help in absorption of the gas present in the air. Scientists say that these porous materials would absorb the pollutants like carbon dioxide from air, consequently reducing the impact on climate change.

Conclusion and References

Ribbe conceives that he can alter the enzyme so that it produces the longer carbon chains which are needed to make up liquid gasoline. If so, the system could show the way to cars partly power-driven by nothing but their own smoke — and further progress could ensue in vehicles that could force fuel from the air itself.


Discovery News - Gasoline from Thin Air?

Thaindian News - Soybean could create “green fuel from thin air in future”

Mother Nature Network – soybeans-could-help-cars-use-thin-air-for-fuel

University news - carbon-capture-internal