FRIDAY 22 JUNE, 2012 |
Australian-Israeli Venture Turns Emissions Into Fuel With Solar Energy
An Israeli-Australian venture aims to use concentrated solar power technology to
turn carbon emissions from coal fired power generators in Victoria into fuel.
Developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science
by Professor Jacob Karni, the technology utilises concentrated solar energy to
split carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen. Multiple reactors on optical concentrators mounted on a solar tracker
make up the basic carbon dioxide conversion unit.
The same technique also makes it possible to split water into hydrogen and
oxygen while breaking down carbon dioxide. The resulting carbon monoxide and an
associated product mixed with hydrogen called Syngas can be used as a fuel in
power stations or converted into methanol for use in vehicles and other
The venture was recently launched in Israel by Australia's NewCO2Fuels Ltd., a subsidiary of
; exclusive licensee of the technology.
Having proved successful in laboratory trials, NewCO2Fuels Ltd. is currently
constructing an industrial-scale solar reactor. Part of this development is
occurring in collaboration with the Canadian Institute for the Energies and Applied Research at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Greenearth Energy is eyeing the vast brown coal resources in Victoria as a
source of fuel for the system. Brown coal is considered the filthiest of fossil
fuels given its high emissions and other contaminants released when burned.
Brown coal features heavily in Victoria's power generation and in 2009,
accounted for over 65 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
Converting carbon dioxide to fuel in a clean and efficient manner will turn brown coal into a
"source of environmentally friendly fuel", says the Weizmann Institute of Science's
While this doesn't take into consideration the multitude of other issues
associated with brown coal mining and use; anything that reduces emissions from
existing power generation is a positive step forward. This has become even more
important given the Victorian
on election commitments of a 20% carbon emission
reduction target and capping emissions from new coal fired power stations.
However, it may concern some that the use of the technology might be seen as an
excuse to fully plunder Victoria's vast resources of the filthy fossil fuel; to
the detriment of the uptake of renewable energy for direct power generation and
the environment generally.
Return to main renewable energy news section
Other Energy Matters News Services