Mining vehicles could be powered by diesel classed as net-zero, according to research from Monash University in Melbourne.
Monash developed a method that converts carbon dioxide into a liquid fuel which can power cars and trucks.
The process uses hydrogenation - a chemical reaction between hydrogen and ruthenium nanoparticles - using carbon dioxide and methanol as the feedstock to create a diesel blend called oxymethylene ethers.
According to Monash researchers, their strategy requires much lower temperatures than conventional production methods, making it more energy efficient.
The technology uses a single reactor.
If green hydrogen was used, it would make the entire production process renewable, and the fuel product net-zero carbon emitting.
"Oxymethylene ethers is a diesel blend or substitute fuel for which we are reporting the best yield to the best of our knowledge anywhere in the world, and when coupled with green hydrogen, the manufacturing method we're proposing can provide net-zero liquid fuel," research lead associate professor Akshat Tanksale said.
Tanksale expects the method could recycle "waste carbon dioxide" to create the fuel.
The project has recently received funding for further research into industrialization and scale-up of the pilot process.