Sunfire Built A Machine That Transforms Water Into Fuel And It Works

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One of the big motivations for exploring alternative forms of energy is the eventual scarcity of hydrocarbon fuels. Simply put, the well will probably dry up at some point. What do we do then? A German company called Sunfire claims to have developed a process that will allow them to manufacture hydrocarbon fuels using just water and carbon dioxide.

The Dresden-based operation recently unveiled a machine that uses its “Power to Liquid” technology, which performs the conversion through a combination of the Fischer-Tropsch process and solid electrolyzer cells. Under this system, water is turned to steam using electricity from renewable sources (e.g. solar, wind, tides), which is then treated to remove oxygen and produce hydrogen gas.

With hydrogen now isolated, Sunfire’s machine will then proceed to harvest carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere, which it distills into carbon monoxide. The two resultant gases are then synthesized into high-purity fuel using the aforementioned Fischer-Tropsch process, allowing the machine to create very specific hydrocarbon molecules that, when suspended in water, can transform into gasoline and diesel. Any excess heat generated by the machine is put back to produce even more steam, giving the machine an efficiency rate of 70 percent.

At this stage, the machine Sunfire created, paid for in part by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, is only for demonstration and feasibility purposes. While it does work, production is limited to a barrel of fuel per day, a far cry from an average oil rig, which can crank out 200 to 300 barrels within the same period of time.

You can learn more about Sunfire from the link below.

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One Response

  1. Chad

    While this is really cool, I feel uncomfortable with the lack of stress on the fact that this isn’t going to solve any energy problems.

    in the first place, it physically can’t. It’s converting waste products of combustion back into the fuel of combustion. That requires inputting as much energy as you get out. Except, basically no process is 100% efficient. This claims 70%, so really, you’re going to be spending about 1.4 units of energy to get fuel with 1 unit of energy in it.

    And that doesn’t actually solve any real problems, because hydrocarbon fuels won’t be as needed in the future in the first place. We won’t need them for power with all the renewables you’re talking about to power this machine, and we’re seeing the transition of ICE to electric cars now. That kind of crushes two of the major uses of hydrocarbon fuels. The third is heating, and is the case primarily for natural gas. Except we’ll likely move to electric for that too. It’s just a recent surge in natural gas production that’s pushed natural gas prices so low that make it a great choice for heating, as it becomes rarer, it’ll make more sense just to go with electric heating anyway.

    So again, really cool, but not a solution to any of those issues, and I just wanted that made a bit clearer.

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