Sunday, November 3, 2013

Energy Dept. Seeks Company to Turn Sunshine Into Gasoline

    Although CO2 has a bad reputation as a "greenhouse gas" that contributes to climate change, if the Energy Department (DOE) finds partners to capitalize on the research of one of its laboratories, someday cars might run on sunshine.  Technically, cars would run on the product of sunlight, CO2 and water using a "two-step solar thermochemical cycle" developed by the Albuquerque, New Mexico government lab.  The DOE posted the special notice seeking interested companies on the Federal Business Opportunities website on Tuesday:
Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) is conducting ongoing research and development into solar fuels, the conversion of sunlight, CO2, and H2O into high energy density, gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel pre-cursors...
Sandia is seeking a company or companies interested in this unique opportunity which will lead to the demonstration and deployment of this technology. 
    Researchers have been working on this idea for some time according to a 2007 press release from the Sandia lab.  At that time, one of the researchers speculated that although a prototype of a device to carry out the chemical process was already under development, it was "a good 15 to 20 years away from being on the market."  The special notice released this week did not contain a timetable, but did note that companies interested in the project "must have a significant interest in developing this technology to the demonstration and deployment stage."

Note: A version of this article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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