Researchers from University of Maria Curie-Sklodowska (UMCS) in Poland are teaming up with Wrotkow Power of Lublin to test their method of converting CO2 emissions from the power plant into low-cost, high-octane fuel. The head of the research team, Professor Dobieslaw Nazimek at (UMCS) says they’re using a chemical process that resembles part of the photosynthesis cycle.


‘Rom’ John Pietrosirski of Lublin-Wrotków Power thinks so saying, “This is an idea that could revolutionize energy and fuel.”

It’s piling on too, with scientists from Lublin committed to his invention. Nitrogen plants in Kedzierzyn-Kozle will feature the first commercial installation. This year, four of these environmentally friendly facilities may begin construction, if all works out.

The World Wildlife Federation’s Poland speaker Wojciech Stępniewski says, “[This is a] good initiative, for which you do not see any indications of organic (processes).”

The news report is getting lots of play over there.  It deserves our attention as well – as you’ll see from the translated interview with Dobiesław Nazimek:

Dobieslaw Nazimek of University of Maria Curie-Sklodowska  Click image for more info.

Dobieslaw Nazimek of University of Maria Curie-Sklodowska Click image for more info.

How do [you], the [dept. head] and your team from the Department of Environmental Chemistry, produce fuel from carbon dioxide?

Prof. Dobiesław Nazimek: We used a form of artificial photosynthesis, a chemical reaction during which water and carbon dioxide, in the presence of a catalyst and under the influence of deep ultraviolet, turns into methanol. Also concurrently is the thermal separation and synthesis of MTG (with methanol in petrol). We get synthetic hydrocarbons with practically no difference from the [native] substance, which [can run] cars. This 108-octane fuel is clean and environmentally friendly.

You can do this inexpensively?

In Poland, with [traditional methods] it cost about 40 cents (Euro) to obtain 1 liter of methanol from methane. Our method allows to obtain the same effect at 9 – 11 cents (Euro); so to produce a liter of gasoline goes from fourty to just a few cents. It is impossible to estimate how much you will pay for such fuel at the station, but the price should be competitive.

So you know how to produce cheap petrol (gasoline) on a large scale?

Yes. We developed a [repeatable] method by which [a factory can] produce fuel from CO2. Anywhere that carbon dioxide is emitted [in volume], you can build such a facility and sell petrol (gasoline).

How much will this limit emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere?

Calculations indicate that the technology will help to reduce CO2 emissions in its first year by about 25 percent.

Does this mean the end of troubles with the giant fees for excessive emission of this gas?

Now we can manage it.

It sounds like a revolution.

In our eyes, it is a true technological revolution. Most countries already have reached peak oil, year by year that the raw materials derived lag resources required. Production of fuel from carbon dioxide is a solution for the economies around the world. It is a strategy that can rid our dependence on imported fuel.

Is this the only benefit?

We hope that the technology will also allow for the construction of a modern processing industry base and modern research.

Where’s the catch?

We work to clean the flue, and we need time to see it in terms of actual greenhouse gas, in the presence of contamination.

How long have you been doing testing?

Six years, because science does not do anything quickly. The idea has been patented in the last year, but we must hurry, because our colleagues from the United States months ago obtained the same results as ours. It would be a pity if the whole world bought equipment from them, and not from us.

But the Ministry of Economy has not supported the project.

For many, our method is so abstract that they do not believe in its effectiveness. Several times I heard that it smacks of science fiction. It is science, but certainly not fiction.
That all sounds good, and I’ve heard it before.  I ran a piece last year about Mitsui of Japan setting up a plant. A quick search turns up action in Singapore, Titanium oxide catalysts in Taiwan, and others, including a U.S. effort.

Yet Mitsui and now the Polish have committed capital to installations that one expects will work to one degree or another.

Where the Polish group stands out is they seem to know the cost structure, have the energy source figured out and grasp the complexities of getting to scale.  I wish them luck.  This CO2  to fuel stocks is a steep mountain.  Cracking out the carbon isn’t necessarily so tough, but getting all that freed hydrogen to add to the mix still claims a lot of energy.  Then it has to be all reassembled into a common fuel.  It’s a multistep process that consumes energy the whole way.

Which the interview isn’t asking, and I suspect wouldn’t be answered or explained anyway for proprietary reasons.  The clue might be in the opening question’s answer, a catalyst and deep ultra violet light.

On the whole, this field leavens the thoughts about what one should post to one’s blog.  Having set a sort of guide, being the commitment of construction money seems to be a good standard.  But one dearly wishes to know just how they’re getting from water and CO2 to methanol in a low energy process.  Encouraging in a fundamental way, because if the is field is broken out into low energy driven CO2 to new fuel, then atmospheric CO2 recycling could go on endlessly with a greatly reduced ancient carbon cost and little if any other pollutants involved.  It might well solve the whole energy as an issue and CO2 as a problem thing in a swoop.  Not that it would have any effect on cap and trade or the global warming hysteria.

So it’s hard to believe, but my – it’s interesting.  A unit of high-density gasoline through to No. 2 diesel is a lot of energy in a small package. Crack that into a recycling system and the earth shifts mightily. One might be saving CO2 someday!  Wouldn’t that be something.


11 Comments so far

  1. russ on July 14, 2009 4:34 AM

    Having worked with thermal reforming of CH4 – H2O & CO2 for many years this seems a bit far fetched.

    Certainly on an industrial scale it is not easy – we will see in a few years time. In the meantime I don’t think I am interested in investing.

  2. | FT Energy Source | The Source: US-China talks; Exxon, biofuels and algae; Nabucco; Corporate climate change disclosure on July 14, 2009 5:28 AM

    […] Turning carbon dioxide into petrol, in Poland (New Energy and Fuel) […]

  3. Matt on July 14, 2009 5:38 AM

    It does seem far fetched. But, if plants do it – why can’t we? For this process to be successful – it does not require ‘new science’.

    Imagine coal fired plants being in demand because they create CO2.

  4. russ on July 14, 2009 7:03 AM

    It would be something to see people wanting coal fired plants to get the CO2!

    The big difference between nature and industry is the scale and time frame. A little bit at a time is not good enough for industry.

  5. Roger from Solar Power Facts on July 14, 2009 8:42 PM

    Sounds great, but without any details of the chemistry involved in the reactions it just sounds like wishful thinking. Mind you if it’s for real, we will find our problems disappearing.

  6. menos50 on July 25, 2009 9:02 AM

    The interesting question is how much might this be worth to the energy companies, especially if cap and trade becomes reality…think of the profitability of the carbon credits this would produce…and of all the similar CO2 to fuel systems that are being developed.

    The Oil industry might just be the ones driving cap and trade to maximize profits and relieve themselves of the need to drill for fuel! Remember that they are heavily invested in coal as well!

  7. Rob on August 10, 2009 7:35 PM

    The key is a catalyst and also the UV radiation source (both may be costly).
    One can check the patent for such details and estimate himself.

  8. robert on September 24, 2009 5:37 PM

    does it have the capability to produce the lower hydrocarbon products;;;propane & butane (LPG gases)???

  9. colon cleansing on November 8, 2010 8:45 AM

    this post is very usefull thx!

  10. c witkowski on January 14, 2011 7:33 PM

    its anoying that people are so pesimistick.
    be happy that someone is trying to save us. please promote this idea by puting presure on our (polish)goverment to invest in this project.
    congratulation profesor

  11. matematyka Szczecin on August 7, 2013 7:09 AM

    Thank you for a very interesting website. What else may I get that kind of information written in such a perfect way? I’ve a undertaking that I’m just now operating on, and I’ve been at the look out for such info.

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