Cella Energy claims breakthrough that would result in $1.50 per gallon gasoline alternative.

Cella Energy Logo

Breakthrough promises $1.50 per gallon synthetic gasoline with no carbon emissions – Gizmag.com

UK-based Cella Energy has developed a synthetic fuel that could lead to US$1.50 per gallon gasoline. Apart from promising a future transportation fuel with a stable price regardless of oil prices, the fuel is hydrogen based and produces no carbon emissions when burned. The technology is based on complex hydrides, and has been developed over a four year top secret program at the prestigious Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. Early indications are that the fuel can be used in existing internal combustion engined vehicles without engine modification.

According to Stephen Voller CEO at Cella Energy, the technology was developed using advanced materials science, taking high energy materials and encapsulating them using a nanostructuring technique called coaxial electrospraying.

“We have developed new micro-beads that can be used in an existing gasoline or petrol vehicle to replace oil-based fuels,” said Voller. “Early indications are that the micro-beads can be used in existing vehicles without engine modification.”

“The materials are hydrogen-based, and so when used produce no carbon emissions at the point of use, in a similar way to electric vehicles”, said Voller.

This sounds like one of the many scams that litter the Internet promising to run your car on water or giving you ridiculous mileage and I am highly skeptical that the product will actually live up to the claims being made about it…

…but if what they’re claiming is true then saying it would be monumental is an understatement.

Given my natural skepticism I checked to see what some other sites are saying. The folks over at PopSci.com are also skeptical:

We’re going to go ahead and write this one because it’s all kinds of interesting, but know that we are doing so with all kinds of skepticism, fair readers. Because anytime anyone claims to have created inexpensive synthetic fuel that will burn in conventional automobile engines with no carbon emissions, you simply have to be on your guard. Nonetheless, UK-based Cella Energy claims to have done exactly that by devising a hydrogen-based synthetic fuel that could replace gasoline in cars.

The technology—reportedly incubated at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in a top secret four-year program—is based on complex hydrides that are highly unstable, usually degrading rapidly in air. Put simply, the company claims it has found a nanotech-driven method that encapsulates hydrogen at usable concentrations in micro-capsules, allowing it to be handled and burned in conventional engines without the need to store it in dangerous high-pressure tanks or super-cooled environments.

The article says the science makes sense if the process Cella is using actually does what they say it can do. Beyond PopSci, though, the few news items I found discussing it were largely just repeating the claims without analysis.

If this is real you can expect the Oil Industry to have an absolute shit fit over it. I’d like to be optimistic about it, but the cynic in me can’t help but think that even if it does work as well as claimed that there’ll be some wicked trade-off like it causes cancer in everything that comes in contact with it or something else equally horrible.

It just seems too good to be true and you know what they say about things like that.

Nancy Pelosi thinks natural gas is “an alternative to fossil fuels.”

I often rant about the stupidity of Republicans when it comes to issues of global warming, but I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t point out when Democrats are stupid about it as well. There’s been a lot of news lately on Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s potential conflict of interest in regards to her position as Speaker of the House and the fact that she’s investing in a company that just so happens to be involved in an area of energy production that she’s been promoting in her clean energy policies. Legal experts seem to think that she’s not yet crossed the line into true conflict of interest territory, but that hasn’t stopped her critics from jumping all over her for it.

During a recent interview with Tom Brokaw she was asked about the investment and it was during her attempt to defend it that she made a pretty stupid statement (emphasis mine):

MR. BROKAW:  Oh, it’s what, between 100 and $200,000.

REP. PELOSI:  No, no, it was between 50 and $100,000, and it’s part of an, you know, entrepreneurial package.  This is the package we sign up for, this is what they invest in.  But that’s not the point.  I’m, I’m, I’m investing in something I believe in.  I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels.

Nancy, natural gas is a fossil fuel. True as it may be that a transition away from fossil fuels may benefit from a move towards the use of natural gas while we further develop the true alternative energies, that doesn’t make saying it isn’t a fossil fuel true. I suppose I’m picking nits here, but I’d feel a lot more confident in our leader’s ability to come up with a reasonable and achievable alternative energy plan if they actually know what is and isn’t a fossil fuel.