The carbon dioxide that accumulates in buildings can affect your ability to think, if it is present in higher concentrations. To solve this problem, you generally need to introduce more outside air (which needs to be heated / cooled). Another method is selective CO2 filtration. And now you have the device that can do that.
That CO2 could simply be ventilated outdoors or used to produce a quantity of seltzer.
Instead, the Finnish start-up, Soletair Power, created a device that converts CO2 into fuel. The configuration demonstrated by the company produces methane, but could be changed for a liquid fuel process.
Depending on the energy source used by these machines, the fuels could be emission-neutral because the carbon comes from the air.
How the carbon transformation machine works
The CO2 capture technique they use is a reduced version of those designed for combustion plants.
The air passes through a chamber full of small granules containing amines – compounds that bind to CO2 molecules.
Periodically, the granules are recycled through a heating step. The temperature should only rise to 120 ° C, as explained by Petri Laakso and Cyril Bajamundi of Soletair Power, so that steam from the local heating system and / or an electric heating element is sufficient.
This causes the amine granules to release the CO2 they retain, which accumulates in a storage tank. The granules are then ready to absorb more CO2.
The other two-thirds of the car, which measures about 2 meters high, 5 meters long and 1 meter wide, deals with the transformation of that CO2 into a usable fuel.
First, there is an electrolyzer that splits water to produce hydrogen gas. Hydrogen is then combined with CO2 in a methanation reactor to produce pure methane gas.
As a CO2 filter, this unit is built to handle a standard HVAC flow rate of approximately 3 cubic meters of air per second.
This could serve an office building with several hundred occupants, says Soletair. In the company’s own smaller office, the filter takes in air with about 500 parts of CO2 per million and reduces the concentration by half.
The idea of ”air to fuel” is pursued by companies such as Carbon Engineering, which design carbon capture plants on an industrial scale and can be exploited in various industries as a solution for carbon dioxide emissions.