From Wales, a Box to
Make Biofuel from Car Fumes
July 19, 2007 - By Michael Szabo, Reuters
< A Yank of that name seriously garbled &
misrepresented maps of mine in an NZ magazine article on effects of a
meltdown in a marine reactor in Auckland or Wellington harbour.
He also attributed to me utterances I'd not made. I
suspected he was a disinfo merchant. This 'biofuel from fumes'
item tends to increase that suspicion. He has been a Greepneace
employee in NZ.
QUEENSFERRY, Wales -- The world's richest corporations and finest
minds spend billions trying to solve the problem of carbon emissions,
but three fishing buddies in North Wales believe they have cracked
They have developed a box which they say can be fixed underneath a car
in place of the exhaust to trap the greenhouse gases blamed for global
warming -- including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide -- and emit
mostly water vapour.
The captured gases can be
processed to create a biofuel using genetically modified algae.
Dubbed "Greenbox", the technology developed by organic
chemist Derek Palmer and engineers Ian Houston and John Jones could,
they say, be used for cars, buses, lorries and eventually buildings
and heavy industry, including power plants.
"We've managed to develop a way to successfully capture a
majority of the emissions from the dirtiest motor we could find,"
Palmer, who has consulted for organisations including the World Health
Organisation and GlaxoSmithKline, told Reuters.
The three, who stumbled across the idea while experimenting with
carbon dioxide to help boost algae growth for fish farming, have set
up a company called Maes Anturio Limited, which translates from Welsh
as Field Adventure.
With the backing of their local member of parliament they are now
seeking extra risk capital either from government or industry: the
only emissions they are not sure their box can handle are those from
Although the box the men currently use for demonstration is about the
size of a bar stool, they say they can build one small enough to
replace a car exhaust that will last for a full tank of petrol.
The crucial aspect of the technology is that the carbon dioxide is
captured and held in a secure state, said Houston. Other carbon
capture technologies are much more cumbersome or energy-intensive, for
example using miles of pipeline to transport the gas.
"The carbon dioxide, held in its safe, inert state, can be
handled, transported and released into a controlled environment with
ease and a minimal amount of energy required," Houston said at a
demonstration using a diesel-powered generator at a certified UK
Ministry of Transportation emissions test centre.
More than 130 tests carried
out over two years at several testing centres have, the three say,
yielded a capture rate between
85 and 95 percent. They
showed the box to David Hansen, a Labour MP for Delyn, North Wales,
who is now helping them.
"Based on the information, there is a clear reduction in
emissions," Hansen told Reuters.
"As a result, I'm facilitating meetings with the appropriate UK
government agencies, as we want to ensure that British ownership and
manufacturing is maintained."
The men are also in contact with car-makers Toyota Motor Corp of Japan and General
Motors Corp. of the United States. Houston said they have also
received substantial offers from two unnamed Asian companies.
Both Toyota and General Motors declined to comment.
If the system takes off, drivers with a Greenbox would replace it when
they fill up their cars and it would go to a bioreactor to be
Through a chemical reaction, the captured gases from the box would be fed to algae, which would then be
crushed to produce a bio-oil. This extract can be converted to
produce a biodiesel almost identical to normal
This biodiesel can be fed back into a diesel engine, the emptied
Greenbox can be affixed to the car and the cycle can begin
The process also yields
methane gas and fertilizer, both of which can be
captured separately. The algae required to capture all of
Britain's auto emissions would take up around 1,000 acres (400
The three estimate that 10 facilities could be built across the UK to
handle the carbon dioxide from the nearly 30 million cars on British
The inventors say they have spent nearly 170,000 pounds ($348,500)
over two years developing the "three distinct technologies"
involved and are hoping to secure more funding for health and safety
Not surprisingly, the trio won't show anyone -- not even their wives
-- what's inside the box.
After every demonstration they hide its individual components in
various locations across North Wales and the technology is divided
into three parts, with each inventor being custodian of one
"Our three minds hold the three keys and we can only unlock it
together," said Houston.