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US Navy Develops a Technique to Produce Jet Fuel from Sea Water

By Joao Peixe | Wed, 26 September 2012 22:10 | 15

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington is working to develop a system that can produce jet fuel from seawater.

Last year the US Naval Military Sea Lift Command, the main fuel supplier to Naval vessels that are at sea, delivered around 600 million gallons to ships that were on the open water.

Refuelling is a very difficult and dangerous procedure when two vessels are at sea, especially if the seas are rough, or there is a storm, or even in the middle of a fire fight. Yet it is also vital as running out of fuel would be devastating to a naval ship in action.

The NRL has designed a system which harvests carbon dioxide and hydrogen, the raw ingredients of jet fuel, from the seawater. NRL discovered that gathering carbon dioxide from the seawater was far more efficient than getting it from the air because the concentration in seawater is 140 times greater. The hydrogen and carbon dioxide go through several processes to create olefins (a hydrocarbon), and then two more steps to turn the olefins into suitable jet fuel.

So far the lab tests have indicated that the process will produce jet fuel at a cost of around $3 - $6 per gallon. Now all that is needed is large scale tests on the open sea.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com The No.1 source for Oil Prices

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  • Bill Simpson on January 01 2014 said:
    Jet fuel from seawater at between $3 & $6 a GALLON? I seriously doubt that is the accurate total cost. If so, the energy crisis is over, and so is the oil industry. It takes a lot of electrical energy just to break up water into hydrogen and oxygen. I hope they patented the process because peak oil is about 10 years away. After that, the oil price will explode.
    If it is true, they have made one of the greatest breakthroughs in all of human history, worthy of a Nobel Prize in chemistry or physics.
  • Will T. on October 02 2012 said:
    Germany already has a 10 megawatt synthetic methane plant based on nighttime wind power: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_neutral_fuel
  • Michael Smith on September 29 2012 said:
    There is another angle to this. Our energy grid tends to produce excess energy during the valley times because it is hard to turn the power off.
    So why not use the surplus periods to produce jet and other fuels.
    I am not sure how the DoD came up with the price of $3 to $6 per gallon but if the process involved only surplus energy that might be given a price of $0, then the price per gallon might be very competitive.
  • pranav on September 28 2012 said:
    This method uses the excess enery from carriers nuclear power plants to produce the jet fuel.But it is useful to fuel the airplanes n the carrier without refueling.This is grossly inefficient but still better than doing nothing with the extra energy.
  • ssam on September 28 2012 said:
    This process will need an energy input to split the carbon dioxide. (from an energy flow point of view this is like using electricity to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen, and then use the hydrogen as a fuel).

    So i guess they are using electricity from a nuclear reactor on the ship. you need a fancy process like this to make a liquid hydrocarbon, because you can't run a plane directly on electricity.
  • Brian on September 28 2012 said:
    Refuelling is a very difficult and dangerous procedure when two vessels are at sea, especially if the seas are rough, or there is a storm, or even in the middle of a fire fight.

    (sorry for the break in comment)
  • Brian on September 28 2012 said:
    RE: ChristopherM
    Many large naval ships such as aircraft carriers are nuclear powered. Aircraft such as fighter jets are not. If they can use surplus nuclear energy from the ship to produce jet fuel for the aircraft, the loss of energy through inefficiencies is outweighed by the benefit of avoiding
  • ChristopherM on September 28 2012 said:
    I smell a perpetual motion scam. The production of fuel by combining chemicals found in seawater can be described as adding energy to those chemicals and the burning of the fuel is the recovery of and use of that added energy. According to the laws of physics there must always be a net loss due to inevitable inefficiency in any process. It may be possible to build seawater fuel plants but they won't be on the ships powered by that fuel. The production facilities will be on shore and transfers at sea will continue to be necessary.
  • Byron Wine on September 27 2012 said:
    extracting a fuel source from water is not new, it was demonstrated more than 200-years ago. Documentation located byronwinedotcom
  • Hans Nieder on September 27 2012 said:
    Great, I be driving to the naval yard to fuel up...
    I wonder if vets will get a discount? US Army, last in line..
    Hurry, everyone drive to a shoreline near you....
  • Mike on September 27 2012 said:
    Great! Now lets get someone new in the White house. Someone who is for a strong and stable defense!
  • Chuck Weirauch on September 27 2012 said:
    Let's hope the Rupublican Congress does not hear about
    this. So far, they have done everything possible to kill all DoD-supported alternative fuel research, claiming that alternative fuels cost too much. Of course, the real reason is they they are in Big Oil's pocket and are going even so far as jeapordizing the security of the United States in trying to prevent all Armed Services buy of alternative fuel when all of DoD is trying to find ways to reduce their dependancy on foreign oil supplies. This has to stop NOW!!!
  • guillermo on September 27 2012 said:
    Better yet, a car with it's own plant that converts water into fuel. That way, when the car is being washed, it's being refueled as well.

    Joke aside, this is amazing, because is yet so simple.

    Those reports of UFOs sumerging into water, coming out of water or travelling very fast through water start making sense.
  • Jereme on September 27 2012 said:
    Who cares about gas, diesel will do just fine.
  • petten on September 26 2012 said:
    This is revolutionary!

    Could it go one step further to produce gas for cars?

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