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Making fuel from CO2 – does this man have the answers?

kjk1.jpgThey say the first person to invent a way to capture carbon emissions will be the one who makes all the money in this green business game.

Meet head of Origo Industries Ian Houston, a man who claims to have such technology in his pocket.

So does he?

To prove it, he took his own Mitsubishi Shogun diesel 2.5, and attached the carbon-capturing device to it. He then took it down to an independent emissions testing centre in Bristol. The emissions reduction was from a factory standard 275g down to a 110g – quite a big leap.

“We will fit this to your car,” says the ex-military engineer. “For someone who lives in London and drives a high-emissions car, it costs a lot of money a year to tax that. And then there’s congestion charging.

“There’s something like 50,000 Chealsea tractors in London, but with this device they will now not pay congestion tax. It would put something like that into band B.

“In the capture device, you have to change the cartridges [shown in pic]. If you don’t change the cartridges, we’ve linked telemetry to the car so it warns you what your emissions are. That also means we don’t cut out the tax man.

co2-emissions-001.jpg“You can change your cartridge at the fuel garage. Various forecourt names are interested in doing a reward-card scheme when you exchange that.”

So that’s step one – but here’s the clever part about this: Mr Ian Houston says he can take those CO2 cartridges and, using a specially developed algae, turn that CO2 back into a type of oil fuel.

“Now a country on its own emissions can supply its own fuel. It’s a closed loop system. If you fill your car up on a Monday, we can give you the fuel back with a fresh cartridge.

“It’s oil-based. We squeeze the algae plant and we can then put that straight back in. I picked the Shogun to prove a point with this. It’s my car, but it’s also big.”

Greenbang hasn’t seen this in action yet, but we’re meeting Mr Houston very soon. We’ve not had time to check the claims or the technology yet either.

But we do know some rather large companies that have. And they’ve even made some rather large offers to buy Mr Houston’s technology. The last one was for more than a billion pounds’ investment from “caveats”, as he calls them. In fact, a number of them have tried to bug Mr Houston’s phone and hack his computer, he says.

While all the world seems to be at his feet, the problem is that Mr Houston doesn’t want to leave the UK, and most of the offers are coming from abroad: “Why should I leave the UK? I used to be a soldier for the British Army, so I don’t want to leave. It’s just sad that all the offers are coming from other countries.

“I’ve told them all that this needs to provide British jobs, but they don’t seem to understand. All people here think about is tax breaks from taking this abroad.”

Though the offers have been sky high, Mr Houston knows that is not nearly enough for the market he’s sitting on. And that’s because if he owns the technology to capture carbon, carbon trading companies are going to take a massive interest in his work.

“It’s nuts,” he says. We think the value of carbon trading in five years time will be £2.5tn. By owning the emissions, you own the money.”

Mr Houston is talking to some pretty big names and brands – many of which seem pretty gobsmacked at his find. Oddly, the one organisation set up to help these kinds of businesses, the Carbon Trust, didn’t sound like it had much interest, but that’s another story.

So will we see more of Mr Houston around the green scene? Well all this sounds too good to be true, as it is a massive find.

But the companies he is working with are credible brands. (We promised not to mention them.) And so are the companies testing the technology.

So it’s wait and see. Our bet is we’ll be seeing a lot more of him.


  • Roy Williamson
    Posted January 6, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Algae to oil. Ok. Better yet you use CO2 from power stations to grow the stuff as well, growing in sewage water, cleaning it as you go. Oh – and the leftover algae material; anaerobic digestion to produce biogas – for the grid, power station you just used the CO2 from and vehicles you just took the cartridge from. Clever thing, nature.

  • citizensmith
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 9:51 am

    The company is called Origo Industries.

    They have under played the test results the car is running sub 100gs.

    Met the guy at SDUK 08, really don’t think the government is his best friend, blows tax out the water as to say.

    Nice to meet a normal guy with no self-inflated opinions of the acheivement, just wants to make British Jobs.

    Respect and power……

  • b cole
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 3:12 am

    National Algae Association
    The Woodlands, Texas

    Algae: The Next Biofuel
    Is Black Gold Turning Green?

    Algae Commercialization
    Business Plan and Networking Forum

    April 10, 2008

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