Volcano-powered supercar could save internal combustion engine

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Old fuel is being reinvented with carbon capture technology and could be the key to cleaning internal combustion engines.


Drivers could soon buy cars powered by volcanoes, with two automakers looking for technology that could potentially delay the death of the internal combustion engine.

Swedish supercar company Koenigsegg founder and CEO told a business newspaper Bloomberg the company was investigating sustainably sourced methanol to power its vehicles, just days after Chinese auto giant Geely announced it was also pushing methanol cars forward.

Since methanol is a simple alcohol made from the combination of hydrogen and carbon, Icelandic company Carbon Recycling International has built a plant that captures CO2 from a semi-active volcano – emissions that would otherwise be released into the volcano. ‘atmosphere – and uses it to create the fuel he calls Vulcanol.



While methanol cars still produce CO2 emissions, the fuel could be made carbon neutral if sustainably harvested hydrogen was also used in its production. The idea is that the CO2 captured by the volcano simply passes through a car’s engine first, rather than being immediately released into the atmosphere by the volcano.

Earlier this week, the media Reuters reported that Geely – which owns Swedish brands Volvo and Polestar – is testing methanol taxis in parts of China and is developing trucks powered by the biofuel. Geely invested US $ 45.5 million (AU $ 59 million) in Carbon Recycling International in 2015.

However, methanol cars are not new. High octane fuel has been used by drag racers for decades, with the world’s fastest cars being driven on a mixture of methanol.

“We will continue to explore methanol vehicle technologies,” Geely Chairman Li Shufu said. “Sure, it might fail in the end, but right now we’re still working on it.”

Christian von Koenigsegg agrees that the idea has merit: “So there is this technology from Iceland – it was invented there – where they [capture] emitting CO2 from semi-active volcanoes and converting it into methanol, ”he said in the Bloomberg maintenance.

“And if you take that methanol and feed the factories that convert other fuels, then feed the ship that carries those fuels to Europe, the United States, or Asia, wherever it goes, you put completely CO2 neutral fuel in the vehicle. “



But Koenigsegg continues to pursue electrification, hiring a former Tesla executive to lead battery technologies.

“We’re not stuck in traditional combustion technology,” said von Koenigsegg, “the technology we’re developing there is really the next generation beyond anything I’ve seen on the market, as well as next generation electrification and the combination of these technologies in an interesting way to make our product stand out and be as competitive as possible with the least possible environmental footprint.

Ben Zacharie

Ben Zachariah is a veteran automotive writer and journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for over 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the field of vintage car investing.

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