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From Wales, a box to make biofuel from car fumes

Reuters – July 19, 2007

If this works out, it is very cool. This is a double whammy – capture emissions and grow algae for the production of bio-diesel.  While the process of making bio-diesel can be quite expensive, from an energy perspective, if we can rapidly increase the growing of the raw materials then it could make a big difference.

I tend to be a little skeptical on this since it seems like there is a “revolutionary” process announced every 3-4 months.  Many of these processes make great headlines but then die away quickly as the real analysis sets in.

They have developed a box which they say can be fixed underneath a car in place of the exhaust to trap the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming — including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide — and emit mostly water vapor.


Dubbed “Greenbox”, the technology developed by organic chemist Derek Palmer and engineers Ian Houston and John Jones could, they say, be used for cars, buses, lorries and eventually buildings and heavy industry, including power plants.


The three, who stumbled across the idea while experimenting with carbon dioxide to help boost algae growth for fish farming, have set up a company called Maes Anturio Limited, which translates from Welsh as Field Adventure.


The crucial aspect of the technology is that the carbon dioxide is captured and held in a secure state, said Houston. Other carbon capture technologies are much more cumbersome or energy-intensive, for example using miles of pipeline to transport the gas.


More than 130 tests carried out over two years at several testing centers have, the three say, yielded a capture rate between 85 and 95 percent.

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