The Icelandic fuel is generated using a renewable power source.
The carbon neutral fuel is methanol created by Icelandic-based Carbon Recycling International (CRI). It is produced using renewable geothermal energy, powered by a nearby volcano.
For the first time in the UK, methanol will come from a full renewable source.
Although methanol combined with petrol isn’t exactly new in the UK, what makes CRI’s methanol unique is that it is produced entirely from renewables and it is not biofuel.
This helps to eliminate the concerns of biomass critics who feel that while using biofuels does help to lower Britain’s carbon footprint, it comes at the cost of land and harming food production. With the carbon-neutral fuel from Iceland, however, as it is not a biofuel, there is no food versus fuel issue.
Currently, 23,000 liters of methanol have been blended with UK gasoline and is now ready for distribution in several gas stations, reported Wired. The mixture of fuel has 3% methanol per liter of fuel, which is the same for methanol generated from biofuels that has already been used in the country.
The carbon-neutral fuel is made from CO2 waste.
CRI makes the methanol at its small carbon-recycling plant near Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. To produce the fuel, CRI uses waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from a nearby Svartsengi geothermal power station. This power station is responsible for supplying hot water and electricity to surrounding communities. It also supplies waste water to the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s globally popular hot geothermal pool.
Instead of the station releasing all its CO2 directly into the atmosphere, it sends some of its gaseous waste (10%) through a pipeline to CRI. The carbon recycling plant separates the carbon dioxide from the mixture of CO2 and hydrogen sulphate gases. It sends the hydrogen sulphate back to the station and adds pure hydrogen to the carbon dioxide. The company generates this hydrogen utilizing energy from Savartsengi to split water. These two components produce methanol.
CRI currently makes about 4,000 tons of this methanol – or ‘Vulcanol’ as they company calls it – a year. A present, as part of a company trial, six cars have been running solely on the carbon-neutral fuel in Iceland for the past two years.