The Money Shot – latter day alchemists

Forget turning lead into gold - these days, it's possible to make petrol out of fresh air
"the cleverdicks at AFS have managed to pull this whole crazy stunt off by using renewable energy. Whatever will they think of next?"
  • | by Kristian Dando

Stockton-on-Tees is a town in County Durham sometimes referred to as“the rough end of Middlesbrough.” Well, that was the response The Money Shot got when it asked a local man as part of its customary painstaking research this morning.

But while Stockton might get a rough ride reputation-wise, it’s a place which really punches above its weight when it comes to seismic developments which alter the course of  history.

Way back in 1822, the first rails of George Stephenson's Stockton and Darlington Railway were laid in Stockton. It was the world’s first passenger railway.

But the town has possibly gone one better this week, by doing the almost-unthinkable and turning fresh air into petrol. Yes, really.

Stockton-based company Air Fuel Synthesis has managed to produce five litres of petrol out of thin air, which given the dwindling supplies of petrol underneath the ground that most of us are totally reliant on in some way or another, is quite useful really.

Not that you’d know about it – Britain’s most widely-read dailies have plumped to give greater prominence to stories concerning Simon Cowell ‘dating’ the ex of F1 ace Jenson Button or baby elephants being rescued instead.

What’s more, the cleverdicks at AFS have managed to pull this whole crazy stunt off by using renewable energy. Whatever will they think of next?

The company hopes that within two years it will build a larger, commercial-scale plant capable of producing a ton of petrol a day. Air Fuel Synthesis also plans to produce green aviation fuel to make airline travel more carbon neutral.

With the release of a new James Bond film just around the corner, the fuel synthesizing boffins must be casting fearful glances over their shoulder. This sort of caper is just the thing which attracts unwanted attention from maniacal villains’ intent on misappropriating their developments to their own nefarious ends.

Maybe they’ve all been sidetracked by those pictures celebrating National Stockings Day  instead.


Tickets have gone on sale for a big pop concert by veteran ‘rockers’ the Rolling Stones at the 02 in London, with the cheapest seats coming in at £250. Presumably, they can charge that much as there’s a very real chance of watching one of the grizzled ‘Suck on the Jugular’ hitmakers die live on stage.

In further pop news, confused customers of Ticketmaster have received emails bearing the troubling news that they’d bought ‘VIP’ tickets to a concert from irritating American pop punk troupe Bowling For Soup in Leeds.

In stating-the-obvious news, the BBC reported that it’s getting quite expensive to go and watch association football these days.

The Treasury Committee has criticised the Financial Services Authority, saying that it "should and could" have intervened in RBS’ hubristic takeover of Dutch Bank ABN Amro in 2007, which is all well and good but about five years too late really.

Speaking of RBS, Richard Branson (who presumably has a newfound spring in his step after being vindicated over the West Coast Mainline debacle) is lurking in the wings ready to pounce on some of the bank’s assets after a deal to flog them to Santander fell through.

In very much the same way you or I would ‘set aside’ a bit of money to pay the milkman, global uberbank Barclays has done the same with about £700m for more PPI claims. That sound you can hear, by the way, is that of the PPI claimback industry rubbing its hands with glee.

On Covered mag this week

There was all sorts of energy-related conjecture – Kristian Dando pondered fixed price energy tariffs. He then proceeded to chew over David Cameron’s in-no-way-made-up-on-the-hoof-like-something-off-The Thick of It energy proposals.

There was this article from Jon Severs on pet insurance, featuring a charming picture of a chocolate Labrador doing a convincing impression of a late 1980s satellite dish.

Struggling for ideas for Halloween? Then try these cheap, meme-tastic ideas. The Tetris costume is piquing the Money Shot’s interest, but it’s typically dishevelled appearance would probably lend itself better to The Dude.


Roundabout buffs across the country have been getting into an almighty lather about the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society’s 2013 calendar, hot off the press this week.

Considered by those in the know as the Pirelli Calendar of the gyratory traffic solutions world, this year’s edition features the winner of the Best Roundabout in Britain on the cover.

The roundabout in question can be found in the middle of a housing estate in York, and features a fully-functioning 18th century windmill in the centre. It’s  bound to get roundabout enthusiasts everywhere hot under the collar.

Kevin Beresford, president of UKRAS, said: "York's residents should feel very proud to live in the home of such a beautiful and well preserved piece of industrial history.

"I have to admit I've travelled from John O'Groats to Lands End in my search for the perfect Holy Grail Gyratory and now I think I've found it in the city of York,” he continued, getting all misty-eyed.

In honour of Britain’s best roundabout, here’s 80’s popsters Dead or Alive to play us out their 1985 smash'You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)'.