An Israeli-Australian venture will
use solar technology developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science to reduce
carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of brown coal. The venture has been
recently launched in Israel
by NewCO2Fuels Ltd., a subsidiary of the Australian company Greenearth Energy
Ltd., which has acquired an exclusive worldwide license for the solar
technology from Yeda, the Weizmann Institute’s technology transfer arm.
The Weizmann technology makes use of
concentrated solar energy to dissociate carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide and
oxygen. This method, developed at the Weizmann Institute by Professor Jacob Karni,
also makes it possible to dissociate water to hydrogen and oxygen at the same
time it dismantles the carbon dioxide.
Carbon monoxide, or its mixture with
hydrogen called Syngas, can then be used as gaseous fuel, for example, in power
plants, or converted to liquid fuel such as methanol, which can be stored,
transported or used to power motor vehicles.
The method has proved successful in
laboratory trials. NewCO2Fuels Ltd. is now building a solar reactor for the
conversion of carbon dioxide on an industrial scale. Part of the development is
being performed in collaboration with the Canadian Institute for the Energies
and Applied Research at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Energy expects the new Israeli-Australian venture to help harness the vast
brown coal resources in the State of Victoria
in south-eastern Australia,
whose use has been limited until now by the high carbon dioxide emission
content from this type of coal. The possibility of converting carbon dioxide to
fuel in a clean and efficient manner will turn brown coal into a source of
environmentally friendly fuel.
Source: Weizmann Institute of Science