Most people believe that the only solution to global climate change is government-imposed regulations to curb the amount of CO2 spewing into the atmosphere. But perhaps there is a market based alternative? Neil Reynolds in the Globe & Mail recently mentioned an intriguing new technology developed by Carbon Sciences, Inc. that converts CO2 into gasoline and other fuels.
Carbon Sciences, which is based in Santa Barbara, provides technical info on its website, but the idea still sounds a little like alchemy to me. So I went looking for the company's patents but found only one published application, US2008277319, for a "Fine Particle CO2 Transformation and Sequestration." The inventor is Michael Wyrsta. Interestingly, Wyrsta is an inventor on several other patents assigned to another Santa Barbara company called GRT or Gas Reaction Technologies. GRT's patent portfolio includes several patents that describe technology for converting gases into hydrocarbons. Could there be a connection between both companies? GRT has a website, but it doesn't look like it's been updated in several years. The USPTO assignment database has no record of GRT assigning its patents to Carbon Sciences. This example illustrates how difficult it is to establish the provence of a technology.
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.