United States Navy scientists claim they have successfully developed a method of converting seawater into jet fuel. Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory developed a technology that extracts carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater and then converts these gases into a hydrocarbon liquid fuel. Sorcery you say? Well, the scientists haven’t just produced the fuel, they’ve also used it to power a miniature radio-controlled flying jet.
Using a proprietary NRL electrolytic cation exchange module (E-CEM), the scientists were able to extract the bound CO2 in the saltwater with 92 percent efficiency. At the same time the machine produces hydrogen gases. These two gases in turn are then converted into liquid hydrocarbons using an iron catalyst inside the reactor system. The scientists used the resulting liquid hydrocarbon to demonstrate how it could power the sustained flight of a radio-controlled P-51 replica and its unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.
The scientists say the ocean could be an incredibly plentiful source of carbon resources as its concentration is about 140 times greater than it is in the air. What’s more, the projected cost of producing jet fuel using NRL’s technologies could be $3 to $6 per gallon. With sufficient funding and partnerships, the scientists believe their laboratory test could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years.
As a first step these seawater to jet fuel conversion centers could be land-based in remote locations before a future of sea-based solutions. In the future, we might never see another offshore oil rig and instead have facilities which convert the seawater into fuel itself.
Via Huffington Post
Images © Naval Research Laboratory