When he was only 15 years old, Kazumi Muraki created a small portable device to capture carbon from the atmosphere. Seven years later, a Japanese chemist is researching how to turn this captured carbon into fuel.
As a child, Muraki never had much interest in science, he tells CNN, until his grandfather gave him the children’s novel George’s Secret Key to the Universe by the late Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy.
Muraki says that the main character goes in search of a suitable planet for human life and settles on Mars. Amazed by photographs of the red planet and its blue sunset, Muraki, at just 10 years old, set himself the goal of a lifetime to get to Mars.
Since then, he says, he began to research what it takes to live there.
“I found that the Martian atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide,” which is deadly to humans. He adds: “If we want to live on Mars, we must remove Martian carbon dioxide.”
He realized that his research on removing carbon from the Martian atmosphere could also be useful here on Earth. “Carbon dioxide is the main cause of the climate crisis,” he says, adding that removing it from the air is one way to curb it.
In 2015, Muraki created Hiyasy, an AI-powered carbon capture device about the size of a carry-on. It is designed for home and office use, he says, so anyone can help stop global warming from anywhere. Hiyashi works by drawing air in and filtering it through an alkaline solution before releasing it back out.
Now he has moved on to the next stage of research: carbon recycling. His Tokyo-based Carbon Recovering Research Agency is working to create alternative fuels from captured carbon.
“Now we are creating diesel fuel from carbon dioxide,” he says, adding that it may be available in the next year or so.
Meanwhile, he still dreams of the red planet: “I want to be the first person to land on Mars.”
To learn more about his inventions, watch the video above.