When a team of Google engineers read a paper on extraction of CO2 from seawater with bipolar membrane electrodialysis, they were interested in it instantly. To move ahead, they invited, Matthew Eisaman, the prime author to explain them about the work and finally brought him on their team for a new project – Foghorn. The main aim for Foghorn was to help in development of fuel from seawater. Following a moonlight methodology, the Foghorn was trying to solve the big problem related with climate change. Considering the fact that transportation is responsible for 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, they choose to counter this problem with their latest technology. The breakthrough technique used in Eisaman’s process that can create hydrocarbons from seawater. A carbon neutral alternative fuel was their radical solution that was known as ‘Sea Fuel’.
The process of turning seawater into fuel is divided into four main phases. The first one has absorption of carbon dioxide by ocean water from the atmosphere. They pulled out carbon dioxide from seawater with electrolysis. In the next phase they had the catalytic reactor where seawater was then broken chemically into Hydrogen and CO2. The last phase included installation of system that allowed vehicles to make use of sea fuel as source of energy as well as carbon emissions being absorbed by seawater to start the procedure again.
They built a small scale prototype to give proof of the success of this process. They targeted a cost bar of $5 for every gallon for sea fuel, it can easily be achievable in next 5-10 years, but it was not successful as of now. When they did a detailed cost estimation they could get the cost to $8-6 for every gallon of gasoline. Last year, the project ended in form an investigation, sleving it has a viable technique for fuel generation but it wouldn’t be as cost effective till hydrogen generation gets more efficient and cheaper.
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