Navy tries turning seawater into fuel

Nov. 20, 2012
Engineers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are developing a way to turn seawater into fuel.


U.S. Naval Research Laboratory,

Engineers at the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory are developing a way to turn seawater into fuel. The multistep process first extracts CO2 and H2 from seawater, then catalytically converts the two into jet fuel in a gas-to-liquid transformation. The fuel could be used for aircraft, ships, and amphibious vehicles. Giving naval ships the ability to make fuel from seawater would eliminate the need to deploy ships and manpower to deliver fuel to ships at sea. And a lot of Navy resources go into delivering fuel. In 2011, for example, 15 replenishment ships loaded 600 million gallons of fuel onto Navy vessels underway.

So far, naval researchers have developed and demonstrated technologies for recovering CO2 and H2 from seawater using an electrochemical acidification cell. They’ve also converted the CO2 and H2 into hydrocarbons. The Navy estimates that once tweaked and scaled up, the process could produce fuel for $3 to $6/gallon.

© 2012 Penton Media, Inc.

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