Finnish researchers said on Wednesday the commercial production of fuel from carbon dioxide emissions would be commercially viable if electricity would be cheaper.
A Finnish test plant in Jokioinen, western Finland, has begun production of hydrocarbon from the climate-hazardous carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Hydrocarbon can then be used for making diesel or petrol.
Special researcher Janne Karki from the Finnish State Research Center, VTT said on Wednesday that the electricity needed for the production of hydrogen in an electrolysis process is a cost problem.
"VTT has calculated that the production of fuel from carbon dioxide would become profitable if the price of electricity would be a third from the current levels," Karki told national broadcaster Yle.
The test production facility of VTT has been built in a compound that already includes a bioethanol production plant of the Finnish company St1 Renewable Energy.
The test plant gets its carbon dioxide as a side product from the ethanol production. "Earlier carbon dioxide was simply let out into the air", Patrick Pitkanen, the director of the bio-refinery services of St1.
"Carbon dioxide is a side product here and we want to make use of everything we emit", Pitkanen said. "But there is still a long way to replace all fossil fuels with this technology."
St1 Renewable Energy operates currently around five ethanol production plants around Finland. Pitkanen said that a hydrocarbon production facility could be built to all of them.
He speculated, however, that the price of fuel based on that technology could be somewhat higher. "That is the price we would pay for bringing the climate change to an end."