Feeds

back to article Panasonic: We'll save Earth by turning CO2 INTO BOOZE

Electronics giant Panasonic is showing off its ambitious attempt to tackle global warming – with a plant-like machine that uses light to scrub CO2 from the atmosphere. The Japanese biz's Artificial Photosynthesis System, which turns the greenhouse gas into organic material, differs from other attempts to mimic the behaviour of …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Bronze badge
Unhappy

Re: Didn't enter a safe shutdown

So fail safes designed by Boeing (or Yuasa)?

1
0

Re: Atmosphere Processors

I think it was operated by TEPCO.

0
0
Thumb Up

Wow

Save the Planet and get drunk on the results. What a great invention.

1
0
Bronze badge

In the vicinity of factories and power plants?

Doesn't the carbon dioxide mix and diffuse very rapidly? Or do they mean to capture the exhaust from power generation and so increase efficiency by starting with a more concentrated source?

0
0

Re: In the vicinity of factories and power plants?

I was wondering the same thing. But I guess if you somehow hooked it up to the CO2 output of Drax then you would get a lot of CO2 to play with and possibly a higher rate of sequestration. However, if you want a lot of *sunlight* to power it, then it is a different consideration. A nice sunny spot in Spain might be a better bet.

1
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

long time before they match cost of sugar beet or cane if ever

Harvest the sugar, ferment it to between 15 and 20% alcohol and distil, using the dried leaves and stalks to fuel the distillation process. And before some smartarse asks "what about the fuel used to drive the tractor ?", a farming friend of mine reckons that 10% of land would be needed to grow biodiesel to power agricultural machinery, compared to when 25% of agricultural land was needed to feed the horses.

Also when you use the ethanol as personal or machinery fuel, the C02 goes back into the atmosphere.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: long time before they match cost of sugar beet or cane if ever

Trouble is, the world's population is getting bigger, and bio-fuels have lead to a rise in food prices in the past- putting up the price of beer, bread and bacon. Not good.

There is land that is currently not being used for agriculture- deserts, for example- and there have been experiments in using algae and sea water in the desert in glass tubes. Having your ingredients and products in a liquid or sludge form means they can be pumped around- no tractor required. There is also the prospect of genetically engineering (or breeding) organisms to produce the product you want.

0
0
Silver badge

If it is ~ same efficiency as plants..

then it will need a humongous area of land

0
0

Re: If it is ~ same efficiency as plants..

If it is the same efficiency as plants.... why not just use plants? They look nicer and have other benefits for the environment and even mental health in humans.

3
0

Re: If it is ~ same efficiency as plants .. why not just use plants?

exactly .. funnel the exhaust of fossil fuel plants to greenhouses .. mix with enough air to bring the CO2 level to something below 5000ppm .. and you get quite more efficient conversion into biomass than plants at the current 400ppm .. some Algae are very efficient at conversion at 5000ppm .. or grow other plants .. food .. all of which thrive quite well at 2000ppm CO2 levels

fossil fuel .. IE .. HYDROcarbons also release more H2O molecules than CO2 molecules when burned .. so you get humidity and warmth for the greenhouses in the bargain .. perhaps allowing them to work in places too cold for greenhouses normally year round

2
0
Pint

Well

I'll breathe / drink to this news.

D

0
0
WTF?

Efficiently on par with real plants

Then why not just save yourself the bother and use real plants?

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Efficiently on par with real plants

Plants are passé. You can't make a big "We're saving the world!" splash just by waving a tree at people, you have to be technological about it.

It's all a sop to green investment funds and politicians looking to shovel more subsidy at anything that looks even remotely environmentalist, and never mind the consequences. Or the costs. Or anything.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Efficiently on par with real plants

Much easier to handle it as an industrial process. If you have a box that you can fill with liquid semiconductor and later drain the organic sludge that can be turned into fuel, you can scale up to huge boxes and handle the process with tanker lorries and one or two drivers. Getting the equivalent biomass ouput from plants would require manual planting, possibly watering and digging up etc.

1
0
Silver badge

I hope the efficiency is improved

or it somehow works out very very cheap cos currently you could beat 0.2% into a cocked hat with solar panels and brute force methods of today. But if it does work out cheap then we'll have to move all the factories into the countryside to get the room and then there'd be no room to park your range rover!

1
0
Boffin

Efficiency comparison

Certainly I am not a scientist, but it seems to me that a 0.2% efficiency -- on par with plants -- is a less than ideal goal. That may be fine for plants which, in addition to soaking up CO2, also contribute to the environment in numerous way: annual plants die-off and decay, perennials shed leaves which decay, and edibles produce grains, vegetables, tubers, and fruits which can be consumed by humans and animals alike. The CO2 conversion efficiency of plants may be low, but their overall contribution is much higher. Still, it's a promising but of progress that deserves further research.

2
0

Bah!

So as it stands today, when you say "booze" you mean "counter-top laminate".

1
0
Bronze badge
Pint

Uses more gas than it makes?

One problem with low grade converters like this is the amount of energy/carbon dioxide used to build and run a converter. It may well exceed the benefit, and it certainly reduces the result substantially

1
0
Pint

and waiting...and waiting

I'm still waiting for commercial cold fusion (Mr Fusion) and Guy Negre's (French) compressed air car to come to market. Give me a ring when that clrolo...chlrolo.... green thingie is ready. In the meantime, I'll be at the pub.

0
0

SO we have

The prototypes for nuclear power cells that can fit inside phones and watches, early power armor being field tested by the army, oil reserves running lower every day, and now a process that could lead to giant insects...

When Apple rebrand themselves as VaultTec, you'll find me heading for the hills.

1
0
Flame

So they put these "near coal plants"? Mildly idiotic. Let it escape and then pretend to capture it?

How about the well-understood processes that goes approximately like:

Hot CO_2 laden effluent + catalyst + water = methanol.

Divert the CO_2 and just make CH_3OH.

Nobody wants methanol 'cause that's the icky stuff that makes you go blind. AFAIK, FlexFuel cars that have materials which can handle oxygenated fuels like ethanol have no issue with M85.

0
0
Childcatcher

Now we can

Sit under our artificial tree, and smoke an electronic cigarette, in our indoor park. Like the F'ING LORAX.

0
0
Silver badge

Wouldn't it be easier to efficiently grow edible plants?

I mean you could have some sort of algae in some industrial system where you could feed it with the CO2 and fertilizer, run it through some glass tubes under the sunlight, and you filter it out the biomass, either to be used as food, or for other uses.

1
0

just plant some trees

If these machines are just as efficient as plants, then why not just plant some trees next to the factories instead?

Trees take care of themselves and require hardly any maintenance.

The machines store the co2 as ethanol.

Trees store the co2 as wood.

I'd rather have a pile of wood lying around than big storage tanks of flamable ethanol.

Also, trees are prettier, nicer and create oxygen as well.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

So, perpetual energy, right?

You burn some carbon for energy, make CO2, use light to turn it into something with carbon that you can burn for energy, and so on.

Sounds too good to be true?

Basically this is just solar power. Why not put a solar panel in and use it to power whatever you were going to power in the first place?

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: So, perpetual energy, right?

Maybe I'm going to power a car, and I don't want to carry those solar power panels with me. Or maybe I want to drive somewhere at night.

0
0
Thumb Up

Hic Hic hooray

So nasty green house gases become booze? (well bio ethanol)

sign me up.

Simple and effective.

0
0
Pint

Will be hard to beat algae economically

Of all schemes created by this profoundly stupid war against CO2 , the only one I see making economic sense is algae ponds using the waste CO2 and warm water from power-plants . That seems a much simpler and less costly solution than this , tho quite interesting , research .

BTW in the USA "greens" have prevented some experiments with power-plant fed algae ponds .

0
0
Bronze badge

Already Have The Technology

We can already just about completely halt carbon dioxide emissions from energy use. Methane from eating meat is a different matter.

AFAIK, there's no way to split carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon that's as simple as electrolyzing water. I thought this was a big problem, since hydrogen fuelled cars are awkward just as electric cars are with current technology. (My goal is to get all our energy from nuclear power that we aren't already getting from hydroelectricity. But since motor fuel stores energy well, wind and solar are now welcome.)

But then I remembered about Robert Zubrin, and how he used hydrogen to make useful fuel for coming back from Mars out of carbon dioxide. But the Sabatier process makes methane or carbon monoxide, and methane is also on the bulky side as a vehicle fuel.

I turned to the Wikipedia article on the Fischer-Tropsch process. That made, I thought, motor fuel from coal: great for energy independence, bad for carbon emissions. But I was surprised to see that its feedstocks were methane or carbon monoxide - presumably made from coal the way coal gas was made to light Victorian lamps!

Naturally, there's the fine detail of government laws and/or taxes to force people to use expensive carbon-neutral motor fuel instead of the stuff extracted from the ground cheaply by fracking and so on - country X being reluctant to do this and place itself at a disadvantage if country Y doesn't do so. But surely that's easy to overcome if we're all DOOMED otherwise, isn't it?

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.