UF alum, engineer, invents device that stops carbon emissions

Published: Nov. 13, 2018 at 4:19 PM EST
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Emissions from natural gas and carbon dioxide are a worldwide issue. But leave it to a Gainesville alumni and inventor to find a solution to the problem.

Its a machine called a standing wave reformer. It takes natural gas emissions and turns it into solid carbon, which is then sold and re-purposed.

“Well, you're avoiding CO2. You're avoiding emitting it at all,” said Robert Kielb, inventor, president and CEO of Standing Wave Reformers.

In a nutshell, it takes natural gas and turns it into solid carbon, so that carbon dioxide is not created from things like airplane engines and natural gas burners. But there’s a lot that goes into the process.

"The device is a shock wave reformer," Kielb began to explain.

It takes shock waves...what you see in this what comes from a sonic boom from an airplane or bomb going off..."but when they pass through the air, they heat the air, so I use that, and pass it through a natural gas to heat it," Kielb said.

Then it heats to a temperature hot enough that separates it into its elements..."hydrogen and carbon. Then, the carbon at that temperature is solid, so when it cools down it doesn't go back together," Kielb continued.

And that creates carbon black, which is powdered carbon -- instead of carbon dioxide. The carbon powder can be sold to plastic and tire companies.

This machine creates clean energy, and gives a return on investment. Kielb says its crucial in turning around the quality of our environment.

"The idea is to remove CO2 from the industrial carbon cycle," he said.

It's also on an international level -- Kielb has interest from companies in Canada, "looking at cleaning up their natural gas burners for some of their refineries, and we also have interest from some French companies that we are trying to finalize in the next couple weeks. We've gotten more international interest than interest in the U.S.," Kielb said.

Now, the challenge is reaching production/

"Right now we are looking to raise another round so that we can do a demonstration of the device, once we have the device demonstrated, we have avenues to go do the pilots, then we can commercialize the technology by licensing," Kielb said.

Leave it to a gator to help us go green.