The Independent said:
A small British company has produced the first "petrol from air" using a revolutionary technology that promises to solve the energy crisis as well as helping to curb global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
and also said:
Air Fuel Synthesis in Stockton-on-Tees has produced five litres of petrol since August when it switched on a small refinery that manufactures gasoline from carbon dioxide and water vapour.
(My bold text.)
It would appear that ignorance of elementary science has reached the national press.
As every schoolboy (and probably most girls too) used to be taught, the chemical reaction CO2 + 4H2 = CH4 +2H2O can be used to make methane which, if so desired, can then be polymerised into more complex hydrocarbons like petrol. The key ingredient is of course hydrogen and not water vapour as stated in the article. So where does this hydrogen come from? Answer: from water. And how do we get it out? By adding energy; at least as much energy as you can possibly get back from the petrol. And where does the energy come from?
Reading further down, we find that the electricity needed to produce this 'petrol from air' is to be derived from renewables. Now that might sound fair enough but, for as long as any power station anywhere on the grid is still burning fossil fuel, using a renewable power source to make a fossil fuel is pointless. By feeding the renewable source into the grid, you can save enough fossil fuel to make at least 2.5 times as much petrol.
Some time in the future when all of the fossil fuel has gone - or is considered politically unacceptable - our power stations will all be nuclear. (My apologies to those who advocate a solar future but I think it will be nuclear.) Only then will it make sense to use some of that electricity to make petrol.
There are perhaps some special cases. Maybe you're in a remote location with no easy access to petrol and no connection to the grid but you do have a wind turbine.