Air conditioners could create personal oil wells by capturing carbon-dioxide: Study

A new study suggests a way to re-model air-conditioners to use CO2 and H2O to create fuel to save the planet.

Global warming is a serious threat to the world and if steps are not taken to deal with it, the temperature on Earth will soon be unbearable for human beings to survive. India and many countries around the world have seen an increase in heat waves, with India facing extended periods of very high temperature for 3-4 days, according to the 2018 Lancet Countdown Report.

Which means, the hotter it gets outside, the more we use air-conditioners to avoid the heat. However, what we often don't realise is that while cooling the room, the air conditioners heat up the surrounding area. They emit carbon-dioxide and that is one is the greenhouse gasses that are causing global warming and climate change.

Now, in what may just be a life-saving method, a new study published in the peer review journal Nature has theorized that they can use the air-conditioners to capture CO2 and convert it into renewable hydrocarbon fuels. This would create personalised synthetic oil wells and would be done using technology that is already available.

Air conditioners could create personal oil wells by capturing carbon-dioxide: Study

The vision for Crowd Oil. Image credit: Nature

These oil wells will be an alternative to the fossil fuels that are currently in wide use, that also emits CO2, contributing to climate change.

The researchers propose re-fitting existing ACs with new technology to help in this process.

This concept, suggested by Roland Dittmeyer, Michael Klumpp, Paul Kant & Geoffrey Ozin, is called Crowd Oil.

The vision for crowd oil is that people in homes, offices and commercial buildings, all over the world, that use ACs will collectively harvest CO2 and H2O to create renewable electricity and heat.

They have conducted preliminary analysis in three places — The Frankfurt Fair Tower office building, a typical grocery store, and low-energy houses. They concluded that if the appropriate air conditioner, with the necessary contraptions, do work. They can capture a significant amount of carbon dioxide.

The Frankfurt Fair tower. image credit: Wikimedia commons

The Frankfurt Fair tower. image credit: Wikimedia commons

However, this study has a few limitations: They have not factored in the economic cost or the time and space it will take to add the extra technology to existing units.

Those two factors, which have been left out, seems like very important aspects to make this study a viable option.

The reason behind the idea of the crowd oil is that people will feel more in control with respect to climate change. This will mean that they would start caring a lot more about the environment and make necessary changes in their way of life to help save the Earth. The dependence on governments would also decrease.

 

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