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.

A couple of blogging notes and WTF gas prices

I’ve updated my picture in the sidebar to something a little more autumn-ish as well as current (some of the other pics of me were a couple of years old) and I’ll be leaving the color scheme as it currently is as some folks seem to like it.

That pic was taken just this morning right outside our townhouse with the sun behind me which explains why my eyes are so puffy. It was a comfortably cool morning for early November. Fresh with the promise of a new day after an election that made history. As you can see I took the shears to my head last night before bed though I didn’t bother to apply a razor as I was already tired. The hair is about as close to the skin as you can get it with standard shears. I had an alternate pic with more of a smile and a bit of the sun flaring around the side of my head, but I wasn’t sure it was as good of a pic as this one. Maybe I’ll post it later if anyone’s curious.

On a totally unrelated note, but something I’ve been meaning to mention for awhile now, what the hell is going on with gasoline prices? Last Friday I filled up the tank at a station selling gas for only $2.09 a gallon! Checking MSN Autos’ Gas Price Finder there’s at least one station in my area selling gas today for $1.99 and the average price has dropped to $2.05! I can only figure the switch from the summer formula to the winter mix must be part of it, but that’s an amazing drop in price. Thanks to living so close to work and school I’m only filling up once every other week these days, but I’ll take the lower gas prices just the same.

My one concern is that some folks will take this as a sign that they can go back to buying big gas guzzlers as the “crisis” is over. It appears, though, that the shitty economy is keeping people from buying cars at all. GM’s sales in October plunged 45%, Chrysler down by 35%, and Ford was down 30%. Even Toyota saw sales fall by 23%. None of which is good news for Michigan. Hopefully when things improve enough for sales to pick up folks will make wiser car buying decisions and not rush back to the huge vehicles because gas is cheap.