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Investors sought to fuel idea
A SOFT drinks entrepreneur, who has devoted his retirement to producing low-cost fuel from air and water, is looking for investors to help launch the invention.
Businessman and environmentalist Tony Marmont developed the process, called air fuel synthesis, which creates synthetic petrol, diesel and aviation fuel using sustainable power to extract carbon dioxide from the air and hydrogen from water.
The two gases mix to form a hydrocarbon fuel, which the Darlington firm Air Fuel Synthesis (AFS) has shown can be produced using a demonstration unit, which has so far created 15 gallons of the fuel.
The first trickle of petrol emerged from the unit, housed in three 40ft shipping containers on Darlington’s Durham Lane Industrial Estate, within minutes.
Having proved the technology works, Mr Marmont wants to build a £6m pilot commercial plant capable of producing a tonne of fuel a day.
Possible locations for the plant could include Teesside, said Mr Marmont, but he stressed the plans were at early stages and other locations were being considered.
The 82-year-old, who sold his family business, Carter Soft Drinks in 1993, has invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in the development, and is now looking for investors to help him take the company to the next level.
The aim is to build a refinery that will provide a zerocarbon and sustainable replacement for the world’s dwindling fossil fuel supplies.
Mr Marmont, who introduced two-litre plastic bottles into the fizzy drinks industry, said: “Everyone said it could not be done, but we thought it could. So we put the money down and tried it. That was the big risk. We didn’t really know if it would work, but we did it and it has worked.
“The plant is running smoothly and it is producing a very high-quality fuel.
“Now we are looking for investors to take it to the next level and we want to be able to go very fast, very quickly.”
Since selling his drinks factories in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, Mr Marmont has devoted his retirement to researching green technology.
He bought a wind turbine company and has funded research at three universities.
Now his dream is to massproduce the sustainable fuel that he believes will help reduce the planet’s carbon emissions, prevent conflict over access to oil-based fuels and give the world’s poorest countries access to a cheaper fuel substitute.
The process uses sun and wind to create electricity which powers equipment that removes carbon dioxide from air and takes the hydrogen from water. The carbon dioxide and hydrogen are then combined in a fuel reactor to produce petrol and methanol.
Lotus Engineering has shown an interest in the fuel and has used AFS methanol to power the Exige 270E Tri-fuels experimental sports car.
Mr Marmont said: “We need the funding capital to turn the demonstration unit into a production tool.”
Once the process is commercialised, Mr Marmont wants manufacturing to be licensed to multiple producers for varying royalty fees. Producers in wealthy countries would pay higher fees than those in poor countries.
The company would retain key patent elements of the technology.