mwalsh wrote:If they capture the CO2 to create it, it at least has the chance of being carbon neutral. I actually have more of a problem with them using water, unless they can use grey or waste water.
Only if the energy source used to create this is in itself carbon neutral.
In the end you aren't going to get more energy out of this process than you put into it. Basically it is stable energy storage, but much like a battery in that you have to 'put' the energy into the system and will have losses in the conversion processes (both in and out). The challenge going forward I'm sure is minimizing that cost - i.e. getting as close to 1:1 ratio of energy in to energy out.
Mind you - I expect this would be very energy dense storage which has it's place and as such may be worth whatever 'premium' it takes to create it. I believe this is why the US Navy is interested in the tech - when you are guzzling liquid hydrocarbons thousands of miles from the closest friendly fueling station the ability to synthesize fuel from available resources (plenty of water and C02 out there in the ocean, and an on board nuclear power plant for energy) could be quite an advantage.
Don't misunderstand - I'm not putting down the tech and am sure the research is well worth it. I just am not sure I buy the marketing "Fuel of the Future" label as I suspect there are likely to be better options out there for many applications.