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Researchers attempt to use airborne carbon dioxide for car fuel

Researchers attempt to use airborne carbon dioxide for car fuel

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British researchers are working on a $2.1 million project that could remove carbon dioxide from the air to turn it into car fuel.

British researchers are working on a $2.1 million project that could remove carbon dioxide from the air to turn it into car fuel.

Scientists and engineers from the University of the West of England, the University of Bath and the University of Bristol are collaborating on a project that aims to develop porous materials that can absorb greenhouse gases and convert them into chemicals to be used to make car fuel or plastics.

If that's not enough, the process is powered by renewable solar energy.

The project brings together scientists studying sustainable energy, chemistry, robotics and life sciences, and seeks to exploit the natural abilities of microorganisms to both reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and produce electricity or hydrogen.

At the moment, no large-scale technology exists to capture and process the diluted carbon dioxide in the air. But with "clever material design" and a lot of science, the researchers could develop an effective carbon neutral technology.

For now, the project is in its early stages. But it certainly raises an interesting question: with technology available to pull CO2 from the atmosphere, do factories and internal combustion engines remain the bad guys?

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure