When he was just 15, Kazumi Muraki created a small, wearable device to capture carbon from the atmosphere. Seven years later, the Japanese chemist is researching how to convert this captured carbon into fuel.
As a young boy, Muraki was never very interested 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 title character goes in search of a suitable planet for human life and settles on Mars. Amazed by the images of the red planet and its blue sunset, Muraki, just 10 years old, made it his life’s mission to get to Mars.
From there he started researching 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 have to remove the Martian carbon dioxide.”
He realized his research into removing carbon from the Martian atmosphere could also be helpful 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 Hiyassy,an AI carbon separator the size of a carry-on luggage. It’s intended for home and office use so anyone, anywhere can help stop global warming, he says. Hiyassy works by sucking in air and filtering it through an alkaline solution before releasing it again.
Now he’s on to the next level of research: carbon recycling. His Tokyo-based company, the Carbon Recovering Research Agency, is working to create an alternative fuel from captured carbon.
“We’re now making a diesel fuel from carbon dioxide,” he says, adding that it could 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.