Researcher Takashi Yabe at the Tokyo Institute of Technology claims that he developed a system that can run on solar energy, to refine magnesium and use it as a source of fuel.
Yabe explains that the oceans contain about 1,800 trillion tons of magnesium, enough to meet the world’s energy needs for the next 300,000 years. But refining this metallic element requires temperatures in excess of 4000C, which means a lot of energy and money.
Now let’s turn our attention to his new system. According to the researcher the new process called magnesium injection cycle or “MAGIC“, could end the world’s dependence of fossil fuels with a fuel that emits no carbon emissions. Using a special evaporation technique, the process begins by extracting magnesium chloride from seawater. Next, Yabe and his team turn the chloride into magnesium oxide, which is then heated using plastic Fresnel lenses that focus sunlight into lasers and send it down microscopic fibers. The result is refined magnesium.
In the next step of the process, Yabe has developed a MAGIC engine, which mixes magnesium granules and water to create heat energy and hydrogen that can power a vehicle. The only by-products are magnesium oxide and water, which can be broken down again by the sunlight laser for more fuel. Yabe plans for the future are to sell refined magnesium for use in fuel-cell batteries. In comparison with the lithium-ion batteries that run many of today’s electric and hybrid vehicles, the magnesium batteries are seven times more powerful. “If we can replace all energy combustion with our MAGIC cycle, there will be no CO2 emissions,” says Yabe. “No one has proposed such a complete system.”