May 25, 2024


Step Into The Technology

This $1.5 billion startup promised to deliver clean fuels as cheap as gas. Experts are deeply skeptical.

2 min read


The procedure

The approach breaks down into four primary phases, in accordance to Prometheus’s investor components. 

In action 1, industrial lovers attract in air and blow it by way of a combine of h2o and other compounds, which McGinnis states could involve sodium carbonate. That then readily reacts with carbon dioxide molecules in the air, shifting a great deal of the carbonate to bicarbonate.

The resulting resolution then moves into a battery-like cell with a membrane in the center and electrodes on either end, which utilizes electricity to spark a collection of chemical reactions that produce sophisticated alcohols. It is outfitted with a catalyst centered on technological know-how licensed from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In an previously description, that lab stated it experienced formulated a catalyst designed from very small carbon spikes embedded with copper nanoparticles. When a voltage was applied, it converted carbon dioxide dissolved in h2o into ethanol “with a yield of 63%.”

Prometheus’s carbon nanotube membranes appear into perform in move three, separating the alcohols from the drinking water. 

And in a remaining move, diverse catalysts are utilised to merge the alcohols and transform them into artificial gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel. In 2020, Prometheus licensed separate technology from the Oak Ridge lab that can be applied to deliver jet gasoline from ethanol, by way of a multistep course of action that depends on a novel though unspecified catalyst. 

The over-all process is significantly distinctive from the one other companies changing captured carbon into fuels are having. As McGinnis explained in a Joule commentary, the Prometheus methods can run underneath regular atmospheric strain and at area temperature. The know-how also avoids the heat electricity required to develop concentrated carbon dioxide as nicely as the money expenditures of an electrolyzer focused to developing hydrogen. Alternatively, the firm claims, it can synthesize alcohols straight from carbon dioxide dissolved in water, and then convert individuals into common fuels.

If they’ve without a doubt figured out how to do this, it “could guide to major electrical power and cost personal savings,” states Evan David Sherwin, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford who manufactured the Environmental Science & Technological innovation analyze.

One particular of the previous slides in the investor resources reveals a Prometheus-branded gasoline station, with a pink neon “Zero Web Carbon” indicator marketing fuel charges of $3.50 a gallon and diesel at $3.75, perfectly below present typical US selling prices.


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