November 26, 2022

CNN —

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 made it his life’s work to get to Mars when he was just 10 years old.

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 developed Hiyassy, ​​an AI carbon capture device the size of a hand 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.