Renewables

Elon Musk’s SpaceX seeks rocket fuel made from atmospheric CO2

Elon Musk SpaceX rocket fuel atmospheric CO2

Photo: Official SpaceX Photos / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

Published

December 14, 2021

Country

Comments

0

Share

Published:

December 14, 2021

Country:

Comments:

0

Share

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and Time magazine’s person of the year, revealed his company SpaceX would launch a program for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for the production of rocket fuel.

California-based Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, is working on solutions for colonizing Mars. Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer Elon Musk, who owns roughly half of the company, has speculated it would be able to send the first crewed mission to the red planet in 2026, and recently he asked his followers on Twitter if they think there would be humans there in 2032.

In his distinctive style, he has just turned to Twitter to announce that “SpaceX is starting a program to take CO2 out of atmosphere and turn it into rocket fuel.” Musk invited those that are interested to join, presumably referring to companies and scientists. He added it “will also be important for Mars,” but failed to reveal any details.

The world’s richest man and Time magazine’s person of the year earmarked USD 100 million this year from his trust for awards in the four-year XPRIZE competition for the best carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects. The technology could be compatible with Musk’s ambitions for Mars.

The removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is beneficial for climate change mitigation as it reduces global warning, but the existing direct air capture or DAC projects are miniscule. Moreover, CO2 from the atmosphere on Mars and frozen CO2 believed to exist on the Moon could in theory be used to produce rocket fuel that would enable the return of people to Earth.

Scientists are studying the use of microbes to turn carbon dioxide into sugars and then fuel, but also other materials. One of the versions is to make a mixture of liquid oxygen and methane, which would also require water.

SpaceX launches satellites into orbit and delivers supplies and astronauts for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and other customers. According to media reports, the startup’s valuation topped USD 100 billion in October.

Elon Musk is also the CEO of electric car maker Tesla – the most valuable automotive company in the world by far, and the founder and executive of several other high technology companies.

Comments (0)

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Enter Your Comment
Please wait... Please fill in the required fields. There seems to be an error, please refresh the page and try again. Your comment has been sent.

Related Articles

Carbon capture projects failing still to play role energy transition

Carbon capture projects failing but still to play role in energy transition

14 January 2022 - The carbon capture technology is still experimental, but it may have a shot with a proper funding scheme and a functional market

New German government announced ambitious decarbonization plan

Germany’s new government announces ambitious decarbonization plan

13 January 2022 - Germany published a climate plan for the 2030 emissions target, decarbonization of industry, electrification of transport, and heating

Carbon border tax indirect emissions from electricity european parliament report

EU should roll out CO2 border tax earlier, apply it to indirect emissions from electricity

12 January 2022 - The draft report is part of the legislative procedure for the adoption of the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM)

The summer of 2021 in Europe was warmest ever

Summer of 2021 in Europe was warmest ever

12 January 2022 - The last seven years were the warmest on record globally by a clear margin, and 2021 was the fifth-hottest year ever recorded