Solar power could create fuel for cars - United Press International - Energy Central

Solar power could create fuel for cars

Jul 12, 2010 - New Haven Register - United Press International - Energy Central

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could soon be used to create fuel to drive the word's cars and trucks, researchers say.

Solar-powered technology could be used to "photosynthesize" hydrocarbon fuels that present-day vehicles could run on without major modifications, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Solar reactors can take carbon dioxide and turn it into carbon monoxide and can also turn water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The results can react with a catalyst to form hydrocarbon fuels, in a technique known as the Fischer-Tropsch process.

Tests have been conducted with solar reactors in New Mexico and Zurich, Switzerland.

Using solar energy to create usable fuel is a possible way to satisfy the world's energy demands while minimizing carbon emissions, Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution told Britain's New Scientist magazine.

"This area holds out the promise for technologies that can produce large amounts of carbon-neutral power at affordable prices, which can be used where and when that power is needed," he said.