– Why can’t we just ‘produce’ gasoline, like synthetically?


– Why can’t we just ‘produce’ gasoline, like synthetically?

In: 439

We could, but it would be expensive and still give off greenhouse gases when burned. Is there is a specific problem you think doing so would solve?

it would kinda defeat the purpose of having it

whatever process we could use to synthetizie gasoline would likely end up using up the same if not more energy than the energy you could get from burning it.

plus if the outcome is chemically identical it would create the same by products which are just as problematic.

We can, but we don’t do it at scale because the processes used to extract the hydrogen and the carbon that make up hydrocarbons require a lot of power, and until that power is coming from entirely clean sources like renewable energy or nuclear energy then you’re just making more expensive gas.

On the flipside though if all hydrocarbons burned was synthetic it would be a more or less carbon neutral cycle, as in not putting in extra carbon in the atmosphere.

We sorta do, you don’t just pump gasoline out of the ground. You take oil and refine it into, among other things, gasoline.
The nazies synthesized “gasoline” out of coal in WW2, it is dirty and inefficient but coal was available and oil was in short supply

We can, and you can even use carbon-capture to pull CO2 out of the air and (after a kajillion steps) use that carbon to assemble the gasoline.

The bad news is all those steps cost energy, so doing this is like picking up a hundred pennies and then spending 75 bucks to transform the pennies into a $5 bill. (I made up those numbers, but you get the idea; it’s really inefficient and not worth it in most cases.)

Could it EVER be worth it? Well, if you’re in a remote location and your life depends on a gasoline-powered machine, sure. There will probably always be cases where hydrocarbon fuels’ ease of use and energy density make them the best thing for the job. But on a national scale, synthetic hydrocarbons wouldn’t be a great investment.