ASX-listed renewables company Greenearth Energy says it is one step closer to bringing its CO2-to-fuel conversion system to market, after testing of the solar component of the technology was proven successful.
Israeli company NewCO2Fuels – Greenearth’s partner in the project and the developer of the technology – said on Wednesday that the solar testing – in which it ran its proprietary reactor with renewable solar thermal energy for two hours continuously – had successfully dissociated CO2 into carbon and oxygen at a rate of 800 times higher than achieved two and a half years ago.
“We did it. We took a waste gas, derided as the key driver of climate change, and renewable energy from the sun and created a high quality, highly valuable fuel; and we are doing it in a way that is financially viable,” said NewCO2Fuels CEO David Banitt.
“This can be a game changer in the way the world produces clean alternatives to fossil fuels,” Banitt said. “NCF technology can support industry to increase production and improve overall process efficiency. We have great confidence that (the technology) should have a fast market penetration”
Greenearth managing director Samuel Marks said his company was extremely pleased with the latest test results, which had now revealed two paths to commercialisation of the technology.
“These results are very encouraging and demonstrate two clear paths to market for the same NCF reactor technology, using either excess heat generated in various high-temperature industrial processes, or concentrated solar energy,” Greenearth said in a statement.
Greenearth – which invested in NewCO2Fuels when it was first formed in Israel in 2011 by a group of scientists and entrepreneurs – has had less success with its geothermal plans, which were put on hold in 2013 due to funding troubles.
As we reported in October last year, the company’s planned 12MW geothermal energy project for the city of Geelong was shelved when the Victorian government withdrew its $25 million grant – a near fatal blow, considering Greenearth’s application for funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) had previously been rejected.
In a statement after the success of the March testing, Greenearth said the system held “great potential” to produce a clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuels using CO2 emitted from industrial processes as its feedstock.
But as Greenearth chairman Rob Annells said back in 2012, the technology also has great potential to allow for increased use of heavy-emitting energy sources – which, at this stage, seems to be the federal government’s basic energy plan – not least of all the “vast brown coal” resource of the Melbourne-based company’s home state, Victoria.