Written by Robin Brown ▼

New engine uses carbon dioxide as a fuel

The carbon dioxide engine

A British manufacturing company has announced an epoch-making breakthrough in new fuel technology that will radically reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The engine technology, developed by British company Absolute Fabrications & Development (AFD), uses the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as a fuel and emits oxygen.

Currently petrol and diesel engines emit carbon dioxide as waste, and are thought to contribute to climate change.

The technology is likely to turn current thinking regarding the environmental impact of road transport on its head.

Currently the automotive sector is struggling to reduce CO2 output across the board, with strict EU penalties for manufacturers exceeding targets likely to be introduced in 2012.

But demand for CO2 could rocket as the technology is rolled out across car fleets, says Shirley Knott of AFD.

"In a world where carbon dioxide emissions are a real problem, the introduction of the carbon dioxide engine that emits only oxygen will see cars thirsty for polluting CO2 actually cleaning up the environment the more they're driven.

"There's a lot of talk about cars being carbon-neutral these days. Cars equipped with AFD CO2 engines will be positively carbon-negative."

The cars will use Advanced-gas Recombination System technology in combination with solar panels.

Light absorbed by the panels is converted to electricity by a silicon electrode, which then drives a reaction within the engine cylinders that converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen.

The resulting reaction drives pistons in the same way that internal combustion drives petrol or diesel engines. The only by-products are harmless oxygen and poisonous carbon monoxide.

The engines will be fuelled by new carbon dioxide stations set to be rolled out across the country. The UK currently lacks a carbon dioxide infrastructure, making the introduction of such a network a priority for any government.

In the short-term CO2-engined cars can be fuelled directly from petrol-driven vehicles, using a hose connected to the exhaust of the donor car.

Knott: "We calculate that the engines will be good for around 300bhp. Fuel economy calculations are, frankly, meaningless in light of this new carbon-burning technology.

"CO2 emissions figures will give way O2 emissions figures and the government will have to reimburse motorists for negative carbon emissions-based road tax."

Knott believes that a massive new-build programme of coal-fired power stations will be required to meet demand for carbon, and called on Amazonian governments to accelerate the rate of deforestation to increase carbon output.