The old saying “fighting fire with fire” may be true or not depending upon the situation, but if someone told you the best way to fight (carbon-based) gas is with another gas, you might raise a skeptical eyebrow or two. But that’s exactly what a Swedish engineering company is claiming: successful capture of carbon from carbon-based greenhouse gases via the use of a hydrogen-based gas.
Calling their gas a ‘hydro-nano’ gas (or hydrogen-atomic nano gas, HNG), the Sweden-based HydroInfra Technologies claims their technology “instantly neutralizes carbon fuel pollution emissions.”
The company also states that its HNG is safe and cost effective (those claims, together with the anti-pollution factor, makes this a “triple bottom line” type solution). HydroInfra is currently exploring ways to bring its technology to the marketplace. The company has already signed on to a joint venture to convert ships (which transport fossil fuel and emit carbon in the process) to using HNG.
If all the claims are true and field testing goes well, this could be a real ‘game-changer’ in the carbon sequestration game (though, as always, one must still store/contain the neutralized carbon products somehow). It may also disrupt current and planned ‘carbon credit’ schemes.
Not one for understatement or subtlety, Daniel Behr of HydroInfra offered a press statement, partly quoted here:
“…given the massive amount of fossil fuel pollution emissions by power plants, shipping and other industry sectors, HNG provides a real solution and is already being hailed as one of the most effective and exciting green technologies the world has yet seen.”
The HNG technology was developed by former Volvo engineer Sven Erik and was based upon the Nobel Prize-winning research on hydrogen atoms and diatomic alkali by Yuan Tseh Lee (whom Erik met at a Nobel ceremony several years ago).
The company also plans to offer its technology to coal- or oil-burning power plants around the world, stating that inserting HNG into the exhaust system has been proven to completely reduce pollution emissions to zero. Governments eager to meet or exceed their reduction targets are also on their list.
Here in the US, it has been estimated (see: Space Daily) that some 1,200 power plants are scheduled to be shuttered due to high CO2 (and other) emissions. If implemented here in the US, these plant closings could be avoided, temporarily avoiding a potential power demand crisis that might ensue in some regions.* (see note below)
How the Technology Works
The HydroInfra technology is basically a type of “scrubbing technology” utilizing three stages or phases of gas processing: hot, dry, and wet (in that order). The HNG is added first to the stock (burned) fuel and then the emitted gas passes through the three phases, each successively reducing the pollutant content, with the final ‘wet’ phase eliminating any residual polluting emissions.
Here is a diagram of the process (Credit: HydroInfra Technologies):
* While almost any technological solution to CO2 emission would seem welcome, any successful scheme or technology that “scrubs” and/or sequesters Carbon fuel emissions will encourage the continued burning of said fuels, and, hence the continued extraction of these fuels from their sources. These extraction processes are highly polluting in their own right (as with the Tar Sands of Alberta, Canada) and come at a sometimes steep environmental cost (e.g., Exxon Valdez, BP oil spills)