Or, at least, the next best thing. But, hey, it still comes out of thin air - with a great deal of energy-intensive help:
On Friday a group of government officials, environmentalists, and local bigwigs gathered in the coastal town of Squamish, British Columbia, about an hour north of Vancouver, to mark the onset of what could one day be a new industry: creating carbon-neutral transportation fuel made from carbon dioxide captured from air.
Trust me, this ain't gonna be any "new industry".
The company that built the plant, Carbon Engineering, was founded by a Canadian scientist named David Keith. A Harvard professor of applied physics, Keith has made headlines before for his outspoken advocacy for more research into geoengineering (specifically, seeding the lower stratosphere with sulfuric acid to reflect sunlight and cool the planet)…
Even though the planet is already cooling. Looks like we need to "save the planet" from "Professor" Keith.
Ditto his absurd, convoluted, roaringly impractical "energy" scheme:
The process uses a large wall of fans, known as a contactor, to push air through a liquid that reacts with the CO2. That carbon dioxide-rich solution is then put through several processing steps to create a purified stream of CO2 gas and the liquid that is returned to the contactor.
A large wall of fans, eh (He IS Canadian, after all)? Sounds awfully energy-intensive to me. And that magnitude of energy usage can only come from practical energy sources, like fossil fuels and nuclear fission. Which means "Professor" Keith's "brainchild" is a net-energy-loser, not an energy source. Which is why this ain't gonna be any "new industry".
There is an additional reason for that conclusion:
The base fuel is referred to as “blue crude,” and begins by taking electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar or hydropower and using it to produce hydrogen from water via reversible electrolysis. The hydrogen is then mixed with CO2 that has been converted into CO in two chemical processes and the resulting reactions produce a liquid made from long-chain hydrocarbons – this is blue crude, which is then refined to create the end product, the synthetic e-diesel. [emphasis added]
This makes "Professor" Keith's dumbass idea a self-correcting problem. Since wind, solar, and hydro don't and can't produce large-scale energy, "synthetic e-diesel" can never have sufficient sources of energy to itself generate more than a token trickle on the ol' grid. Which is why, once again, this ain't gonna be any "new industry".
I suppose Jazz Shaw is right that "futuristic" spectacles like this one look "cool". It would make a passable Big Bang Theory episode, I suppose, with Leonard and Howard arguing over whether to use lasers or robotic arms to power the "large wall of fans". But as a practical, large-scale source of energy....please.