German carmaker BMW and its sister brand Mini have invested $USD12.5 million into a US company that produces synthetic petrol and diesel made via carbon capturing.
The venture capital arm of BMW and Mini, called BMW i Ventures, invested in a start-up called Prometheus Fuels, which claims it will be selling carbon-neutral fuel by the end of this year.
While the technology to convert carbon emissions back into fuel was already available, the costs to do so were prohibitively expensive.
Rob McGinnis, founder and CEO of Prometheus Fuels, told the Agile Precision podcast his company created technological advances that allowed captured CO2 to be converted into synthetic petrol, diesel, and jet fuel using solar power.
“Fundamentally what we’re doing is turning electricity into fuel,” said McGinnis.
“What we’ve innovated at Prometheus is we’ve figured out a way to use very inexpensive equipment. So … we can make a pretty inexpensive machine that then takes pretty inexpensive electricity, and then turn it into fuel.”
McGinnes also cited changing sentiment as a reason for the potential success of the new fuel, pointing to the widespread and rapid rise of plant-based meat products.
Prometheus claims their petrol, diesel, and jet fuel products are completely carbon neutral, but are chemically identical to traditional petroleum-based fuels.
The company claims no changes would need to be made to engines or infrastructure, and driving would be completely carbon-neutral.