I won't interleave my replies as I'm finding it quite confusing to follow
who is saying what in reply to what, so apologies in advance if I miss
The suggestion about synthesising petrol from the atmosphere is of course
very hypothetical at the moment. Supposing it could be done, I do of course
realise that this would be recycling. The reasons to do it (in the short
term, and assuming it's possible) would be to avoid having to reconfigure
the existing infrastructure that has been built up over decades to supply
petrol to cars, boats, planes, power plants, etc. With almost any
alternative fuel supply this would need a massive (and non carbon neutral)
overhaul to much of the world.
Why not use the energy more directly? - only because of the storage
problem. One of petrol's big plus points is its high energy density (and
actual density). It's a lot easier to cart around a tank of petrol than a
tank of hydrogen or methane or some other gas, for example, or a battery
full of electricity.
There are many schemes afoot which could in theory revolutionise transport
- the latest I saw was a New Zealand based idea to use induction from
buried wires to charge electric cars as they move. This is fine, except
that it doesn't work for planes or boats or for cars that aren't on a road
equipped with the wires! And even getting it up and running for motorways
would require digging up thousands of miles of road and filling it in
again, not to mention equipping millions of cars with the necessary
One has the same supply problem with any power source - nuclear, solar,
etc. You have to get the energy into cars, planes, trains etc. A good
solution, in my opinion, would be to use the power plus the carbon in the
air to create a fuel that cars, planes etc can run on. And if you can do it
- very hypothetical at present - then maybe eventually you will even be
able to get more carbon out of the air than is being emitted.
On the subject of sequestration, plants are top of my list, but assuming
that isn't possible, or not possible enough, is there no way to split the
carbon atoms off from the oxygen (assuming lots of available energy, as
usual!) and to turn it into - oh, I don't know. Diamonds, perhaps!
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