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BMW invests in technology to pull gasoline out of the air

BMW invests in technology to p...
Prometheus plans to offer its gasoline alongside traditional gasoline at gas stations
Prometheus plans to offer its gasoline alongside traditional gasoline at gas stations
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It won't be 26 cent a gallon, but Prometheus plans to make its gas competitive with traditional gas
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It won't be 26 cent a gallon, but Prometheus plans to make its gas competitive with traditional gas
Prometheus plans to offer its gasoline alongside traditional gasoline at gas stations
2/2
Prometheus plans to offer its gasoline alongside traditional gasoline at gas stations

BMW i Ventures, BMW's hybrid venture firm, announced today it is investing in Prometheus Fuels. The Silicon Valley startup is working on technologies for pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and processing it into carbon-neutral gasoline. The investment will help the company as it prepares for retail launch as early as late 2020.

Launched in 2019 by Rob McGinnis, a Yale Engineering PhD and startup veteran, Prometheus Fuels is refining processes and technologies for capturing CO2 from the air and processing it into gasoline, diesel and jet fuels that work with existing vehicles. According to the company, its processes are carbon neutral, 100 percent powered by solar and wind energy. Using its proprietary capture, fuel synthesis and fuel separation technologies, the company says it's able to create fuel that is molecularly identical to oil-based gasoline.

Given its beginnings as captured CO2, Prometheus' fuel does not add any net CO2 to the atmosphere from tailpipe emissions, making it a zero-net-carbon fuel. Furthermore, it prevents the extraction of oil and natural gas that would otherwise be necessary to create the same amount of gasoline.

Unlike other sustainable fuels that require vehicle modifications, Prometheus' gasoline is designed to work seamlessly with existing internal combustion engines, allowing buyers to simply choose it at the pump, fill up and go. Prometheus' goal is to price it at the same level as traditional gasoline before bringing price down over time so there's no price penalty for its use, either.

"The ability to create gasoline from air, cost competitively with fossil fuels, is a game changer," said Greg Smithies, Partner, BMW i Ventures. "The average car stays on the road for over eight years, meaning that even if the whole world switched to buying 100 percent electric cars tomorrow, it would still take almost a decade for today’s internal combustion engines to be off the road. By creating carbon-neutral gasoline from CO2 captured from the air, Prometheus Fuels allows the climate impact of today’s internal combustion engines to be massively reduced immediately."

Prometheus estimates that if all fuels made from oil and gas were replaced with its style zero-net-carbon fuel, the world would see a 10-gigaton reduction in CO2 emissions per year, roughly 25 percent of global emissions. The company says that BMW i Ventures' investment led a funding round of $12.5 million.

"BMW i Ventures investment will help us to accelerate our efforts to bring our zero-net-carbon fuel to market quickly," said McGinnis.

Prometheus hopes to begin selling its fuel at California retail pumps later this year, expanding to other US and international markets in 2021. It says it is also working on related technologies for CO2 removal and sequestering.

Sources: BMW, Prometheus

22 comments
vince

It may be carbon neutral but it perpetuates the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and so does NOT reduce global warming.
guzmanchinky
What an amazing technology if it really works? I'd be interested just how much wind and solar power is required to pull gasoline out of thin air?
guzmanchinky
vince you are incorrect. Go to their website and they explain it more clearly. Basically it says that by using renewables to create gasoline, which requires no new tech or vehicles, they are LEAVING OIL IN THE GROUND that would otherwise be used to create that SAME gallon of gasoline or diesel. If we used their process exclusively, it would reduce global CO2 emissions by TWENTY FIVE PERCENT. That's a really big deal, if they can make it work...
Lukemaj
@guzmanchinky, I think vince is correct, in idea is it only recycle capture CO2 to fuel, then it is burn to CO2 and cycles is closed. 25% reduction is if all fuel around the world would be replaced with their, but it is a figure for additional CO2 emission from newly pumped oil. On the other hand it all looks like pure marketing at the moment, as there is no process, explained at all (just idea is presented).
WB
I would call BS on this. There's a lot more in gasoline than just CO2...A lot more. So where is all that coming from? Seems like a marketing story to me and something the old dinosaur ice manufacturers would love love to be true. Good luck with that one. Is there a way to short this thing lol.
Charl.H.Schul
The idea is outstanding , however would there be a competition between
plants that need CO2 to complete the Photosynthetic Cycle and the production
of fuel ?
Worzel
Thankfully, as human CO2 emissions are such a tiny proportion of the total CO2 it will make little difference to anything. In addition, as CO2 has has zero effect on climate in the last 600 million years, even when it was 7000 ppm, or 17 times the present tiny 400 ppm, of which human input is about 10%, then, ''.....Prometheus Fuels allows the climate impact of today’s internal combustion engines to be massively reduced immediately." is a complete fantasy, as there is non.

f8lee
Wow - is this the latest version of alchemy? Am I the only one reminded of the hype around "cold fusion"?

I'd question BMW's investment strategy here, but then again they bought a majority stake in Harley Davidson so maybe someone is asleep at the switch there.
martinwinlow
Do you:
a/ ...ever wonder if you are paying too much for your BMW, and/or
b/ ... think that, generally speaking, people are really stupid/gullible?

Why not just use the renewables to power an electric vehicle with 5 times the efficiency?

If this is too complex an idea for you to understand, let me explain...

You take the electricity needed to run this nonsense idea and generate some fuel and put that fuel in a vehicle and drive it until it runs out of fuel. Alternatively, you take an equivalent vehicle that has an electric drive-train (ie no fuel engine) and put a battery in it containing the same amount of renewably-generated electricity and then drive it until it stops. The second car will have gone fully 5 times further than the first one. There you go BMW boffins. Really easy to understand. Now please stop wasting your money!
zr2s10
Sounds too good to be true. Especially cost competitive with standard fuels. I also can't imagine the process is going to be very fast, so it would have to be on a huge scale, to supply the world's energy needs. But imagine having a gas pump in your driveway that costs nothing to run, just an initial investment. That would be incredible.