Synthetic Oil


Oil from CO2

Audi has a pilot plant in Dresden, Germany, operated by clean tech company Sunfire, producing 160 litres of synthetic diesel per day.

Clean electricity splits water into oxygen and hydrogen using reversible electrolysis.

Carbon dioxide is harvested from the atmosphere and converted to CO. This CO is reacted with hydrogen at high temperature and pressure, resulting in long-chain hydrocarbon compounds. They call it blue crude. It is refined to produce e-diesel.

Video of pilot plant.

 Reversible electrolysis

Sunfire's reversible electrolysis resolves this challenge in the most efficient way. This revolutionary technology combines both fuel cell and electrolysis in one single device.

When there is surplus electricity generated from wind and sun, the reversible electrolysis converts it to valuable hydrogen. The hydrogen can be used in the industry, future fuel cell mobility or converted into renewable diesel and gasoline with a second sunfire technology called Power-to-Liquids.

When energy shortage occurs, hydrogen, methane or biogas can be re-used by the reversible electrolysis to produce backup power to support the grid. Both ways can be run without time or storage limitations, because the system is connected to the huge gas and electricity grids. The efficiency of the system is around 60 %. 

Source    Video

Oil from plastic

 7% of the world’s annual oil production is used to produce and manufacture plastic. The process is polymerisation of ethene and propene. Heat can reverse this process by breaking the bonds in a process known as thermal depolymerisation. (depolymerization)

Polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene can be decomposed by heating (pyrolysis). The vapour can be burnt as a gas or condensed as an oil. This oil can be separated by distillation into petrol / gasoline, kerosene, diesel and heavy oil.

Blest, a Japanese company has developed a series of small machines for this process. An electric element heats the plastic to produce the vapour which is condensed by bubbling through water. 

One kilogram of plastic produces almost one litre of oil. To convert that amount takes about 1 kwh of electricity.

There are other companies converting plastics into oil on a larger scale: 

  • Agri-Plas, 
  • Agilyx (formerly Plas2Fuel),
  • Envion Oil Generator,

Solar heat could be used for the process.


Thermal depolymerisation in hot water

If you take any organic waste, medical waste, tyres, plastic, or sewage sludge, and put it in hot water under pressure for the right time, it will convert to oil, gas and char. The claim is that only 15% of the waste's energy goes into powering the process.

The process is called hydrous pyrolysis and is thought to mimic the way oil was made underground.

Under pressure and heat, long chain polymers of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon decompose into short-chain petroleum hydrocarbons with a maximum length of around 18 carbons.

The Hydro Thermal Upgrading (HTU) process uses superheated water to produce oil from domestic waste.



Ref 1

In Missouri 200 tonnes of turkey waste from a food factory is converted to 20 tonnes of oil every day.  

Changing World Technologies claim to convert turkey waste at a cost of $0.30 /KG, and tyres cost $0.20/KG of oil produced.

Unfortunately the company has filed for bankruptcy with losses of $118 million.


Changing World Technologies process