German-made 'miracle' machine turns water into gasoline
Published time: November 30, 2014 08:35
Still from Ruptly video
There is as yet no method to mimic Jesus Christ and turn water into
wine, but German chemical engineers have proved they can perform
miracles of alchemy. They are now finalizing the assembly of a rig
that changes water into gasoline.
The German company says it has developed an engineering installation
capable of synthesizing petroleum-based fuels from water and carbon
dioxide. The 'power-to-liquid' rig converts gases extracted from water
into liquid hydrocarbon fuels.
"I would call it a miracle because it completely changes the way we
are producing fuels for cars, planes and also the chemical industry,"
Nils Aldag, Chief Financial Officer and co-founder of Sunfire GmbH
told RT's Ruptly video agency.
The Dresden-based company expects the technology to have a big impact
on the future fuel market.
The electrically-powered installation uses a process known as
Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis, first developed by German chemists Franz
Fischer and Hans Tropsch in 1925.
The Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) reaction converts colorless, odorless,
incombustible carbon dioxide gas (CO2) extracted from water, and
hydrogen gas generated from water vapor, by electrolysis into liquid
fuels such as diesel, jet kerosene and other chemical products.
The conversion process takes place in a series of reactors at
temperatures between 150 and 300 degrees Celsius.
However, the F-T fuel technology "will always be more expensive" than
getting conventional liquid hydrocarbon fuels from oil or coal, Aldag
"What is important is that the value creation happens at the place
where you use the fuel," he said. So there will be no crude oil
transportation costs and expensive infrastructure. "You are producing
the fuel right where you are actually going to use it," Aldag
One might think that much cheaper conventional fuels will always be a
sure bet, but this depends on the given conditions. The Pentagon has
already been working in this direction.
The US military has spent up to $150 per gallon on alternative jet
fuels made from algae, which is a good bit more than the approximately
$3 per gallon that traditional jet fuels currently cost in the US.
Although $150 seems a lot for a gallon of gas, the US has spent a
fortune on fuel during its 13-year campaign in Afghanistan. The
military themselves estimate that the cost of delivering fuel to
remote bases is $400 a gallon.
Sunfire believes the technology will be refined, and after obtaining
regulatory permission they hope to offer it for commercial
exploitation by 2016.
While Nils Aldag considers the technology has a bright future, the
will to use it needs to gain momentum.
"I think in a very long time it will actually have an impact on
geopolitics. What you always have to know is that the quantities that
are required in these industries are so big that it would be difficult
for such a technology to make a significant impact in a short period
of time," said Aldag.