SpaceX/Futurism
Sucking Up Air

Elon Musk Says SpaceX Is Going to Start Sucking CO2 Out of the Air and Turning It Into Rocket Fuel

byVictor Tangermann
12. 14. 21
SpaceX/Futurism

"Will also be important for Mars."

Air Delivery

SpaceX is embarking on a bold new adventure: making rocket fuel out of thin air.

“SpaceX is starting a program to take CO2 out of atmosphere & turn it into rocket fuel,” CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Monday. “Please join if interested.”

Such a process — using in-situ resources to generate fuel — could have great implications during our transition to becoming interplanetary, according to Musk.

“Will also be important for Mars,” he added in a follow-up tweet.

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Carbon Appetit

It’s particularly a pertinent topic for SpaceX’s operations, given that its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket emits plenty of CO2 when it launches.

And it’s not quite as far fetched as it sounds. Using a new technique called “direct air capture” (DAC), SpaceX could suck in thousands of tons of carbon dioxide to turn it into a source of fuel, Bloomberg reports.

Iceland recently started operations at the world’s largest DAC plant, sucking up to 4,400 tons of CO2 a year.

The news comes after Musk announced a $100 million prize to come up with carbon removal technologies earlier this year. The goal is to pull 1,000 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere annually — and eventually scaling up the operation dramatically.

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“I think this is one of those things that is going to take a while to figure out what the right solution is,” Musk explained back in April. “And especially to figure out what the best economics are for CO2 removal.”

“Right now we’ve only got one planet,” Musk said at the time. “Even a 0.1 percent chance of disaster — why run that risk? That’s crazy!”

More on carbon capture: Scientists Fire Up World’s Biggest Carbon Capture Machine


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