The cylindrical metal CR5 is divided into hot and cold chambers. Solar energy heats the hot chamber to a scorching 2,700 degrees, hot enough to force the iron oxide composite to lose oxygen atoms. The composite is then thrust into the cool chamber, which is filled with carbon dioxide. As it cools, the iron oxide snatches back its lost oxygen atoms, leaving behind carbon monoxide.

The same process can also produce raw hydrogen by pumping water rather than CO2 into the cool chamber. Hydrogen and carbon monoxide can then be blended into syngas, a replacement for current hydrocarbon-based combustibles like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Photo Credit: Randy Montoya, Sandia National Labs.

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1 Comment so far

  1. georgie12 on September 12, 2012 10:34 PM

    i think that this is a fantastic break through, this could solve all of our problems to avoid runnnig out of fuel

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