Volcano fuel? Sounds crazy but it could save sports cars
Thursday 1st July, 2021 - 8:00am
Fuel made from volcano emissions could become the next big thing in alternate fuel, at least if Christian von Koenigsegg has his way.
The founder of Sweden’s famous supercar company has spoken about his belief that a new renewable fuel made from carbon dioxide captured from semi-active volcanoes. Known as ‘Vulcanol’ and produced by Icelandic specialists, Carbon Recycling International, it’s a renewable form of methanol that has been in production for nearly a decade.
In a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg, Koenigsegg explained the benefits of using volcano-sourced methanol and its potential to save emissions across its entire lifecycle.
“It’s a very interesting way of creating an environmental benign propulsion energy source,” Koenigsegg told Bloomberg.
“So there is this technology from Iceland, it was invented there, where they cap the CO2 emittance from semi-active volcanoes and convert that into methanol. And if you take that methanol and you power the plants that do the conversion of other fuels and then power the ship that transports the those fuels to Europe or the U.S. or Asia, wherever it goes, you put the fuel completely CO2-neutral into the vehicle.”
While at first it may sound far-fetched it’s actually not such a radical idea. Methanol has long been used as a fuel, most notably in Indycar racing where it was common from the 1960s until mid-2000s, due to its high energy content and clean burning nature.
Koenigsegg has begun experimenting with electrification but the interest in clean fuels suggests the company may still have a future with petrol-powered engines.
Carbon neutral fuels is a major area of research for car makers looking for ways to cut emissions while retaining internal combustion engines. As previously reported, Porsche is investing millions into a project with ExxonMobil and Siemens Energy to produce ‘eFuels’. These are derived from renewable hydrogen and captured carbon – similar to the volcano project – and converted into liquid fuels.
To help the development and showcase its potential Porsche is planning on using the new eFuel in the Supercup championship from 2022 before rolling it out to the public by the end of the decade.