U.S. Navy creates ‘game-changing’ jet fuel from seawater [VIDEO]

seruriermarshal

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U.S. Navy creates ‘game-changing’ jet fuel from seawater [VIDEO]


5:59 PM 04/07/2014

The U.S. Navy has developed a new process for generating jet fuel out of ordinary seawater — thanks to technology that could be widely deployed in as little as a decade.

Described as a “game-changer” by officials, the new process extracts carbon dioxide and produces hydrogen gas from seawater, and transforms it into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel thats already been successfully tested in an unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.

That means none of the ships making up the Navy’s full fleet will need to be retrofitted or updated to use the fuel.

The Naval Research Laboratory began the project in 2011 and reports it could be commercially viable within seven to 10 years at a stable production cost between $3-6 dollars per gallon.

Without the fluctuating cost of oil prices and shortages or the time-consuming refueling process of meeting oil tankers, Navy ships equipped with the tech could join the nuclear-fueled aircraft carriers and submarines that stay deployed for years at a time.

“We are in very challenging times where we really do have to think in pretty innovative ways to look at how we create energy, how we value energy and how we consume it,” Vice Admiral Philip Cullom said in a Daily Mail report. “‘We need to challenge the results of the assumptions that are the result of the last six decades of constant access to cheap, unlimited amounts of fuel.”

“Basically, we’ve treated energy like air, something that’s always there and that we don’t worry about too much. But the reality is that we do have to worry about it.”

Researchers hope the fuel will also power aircraft, as was demonstrated in the fuel’s first test of a radio-controlled, small scale replica of a WWII P-51 Mustang fighter airplane.

“For the first time we’ve been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously – that’s a big breakthrough,” research chemist Dr. Heather Willauer, a 10-year project participant, said.

In the next step toward adoption, researchers will begin working on methods of producing the fuel in mass quantities and partner with several universities to improve the method of extraction to pull even more gases out of seawater.

“Developing a game-changing technology like this, seawater to fuel, really is something that reinvents a lot of the way we can do business when you think about logistics, readiness,” Collum said.

“It’s a huge milestone for us.”

http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/07/u-s-navy-creates-game-changing-jet-fuel-from-seawater-video/
 

J.A.W.

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Does this one actually belong in the 'April Fools' dept?

Or - has the USN come clean - on their use of 'suppressed invention' stuff?

B.S. or not?
 

seruriermarshal

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US Navy ‘game-changer’: converting seawater into fuel


April 08, 2014
AFP



WASHINGTON - The US Navy believes it has finally worked out the solution to a problem that has intrigued scientists for decades: how to take seawater and use it as fuel.
The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel is being hailed as “a game-changer” because it would signficantly shorten the supply chain, a weak link that makes any force easier to attack. The US has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers, and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion.
All other vessels must frequently abandon their mission for a few hours to navigate in parallel with the tanker, a delicate operation, especially in bad weather.
The ultimate goal is to eventually get away from the dependence on oil altogether, which would also mean the navy is no longer hostage to potential shortages of oil or fluctuations in its cost. Vice Admiral Philip Cullom declared: “It’s a huge milestone for us.” “We are in very challenging times where we really do have to think in pretty innovative ways to look at how we create energy, how we value energy and how we consume it. “We need to challenge the results of the assumptions that are the result of the last six decades of constant access to cheap, unlimited amounts of fuel,” added Cullom. “Basically, we’ve treated energy like air, something that’s always there and that we don’t worry about too much. But the reality is that we do have to worry about it.” US experts have found out how to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater.
Then, using a catalytic converter, they transformed them into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process. They hope the fuel will not only be able to power ships, but also planes.
That means instead of relying on tankers, ships will be able to produce fuel at sea.
- ‘Game-changing’ technology -
The predicted cost of jet fuel using the technology is in the range of three to six dollars per gallon, say experts at the US Naval Research Laboratory, who have already flown a model airplane with fuel produced from seawater.
Dr Heather Willauer, an research chemist who has spent nearly a decade on the project, can hardly hide her enthusiasm.
“For the first time we’ve been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously, that’s a big breakthrough,” she said, adding that the fuel “doesn’t look or smell very different.”
Now that they have demonstrated it can work, the next step is to produce it in industrial quantities. But before that, in partnership with several universities, the experts want to improve the amount of CO2 and hydrogen they can capture.
“We’ve demonstrated the feasibility, we want to improve the process efficiency,” explained Willauer.
Collum is just as excited.
“For us in the military, in the Navy, we have some pretty unusual and different kinds of challenges,” he said.
“We don’t necessarily go to a gas station to get our fuel, our gas station comes to us in terms of an oiler, a replenishment ship.
“Developing a game-changing technology like this, seawater to fuel, really is something that reinvents a lot of the way we can do business when you think about logistics, readiness.”
A crucial benefit, says Collum, is that the fuel can be used in the same engines already fitted in ships and aircraft.
“If you don’t want to re-engineer every ship, every type of engine, every aircraft, that’s why we need what we call drop-in replacement fuels that look, smell and essentially are the same as any kind of petroleum-based fuels.”
Drawbacks? Only one, it seems: researchers warn it will be at least a decade before US ships are able to produce their own fuel on board.
 

TomS

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Grossly optimistic on price, but the science is sound; nuclear power to electrolyse water for hydrogen and crack carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Then combine the two to make long-chain hydrocarbons.


It's massively energy-negative -- the only value of the process is to create hydrocarbon fuel in a place where hydrocarbons aren't easily available or cost massive amounts to ship, like a fleet at sea.
 

sublight is back

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It sounds like a case of mistaken interpretation. You could theoretically invent a better electrolysis that separates the hydrogen from the oxygen in seawater. Getting hydrocarbon fuel and C02 (why would you WANT C02?) from water sounds like an impossible task. It takes a gigantic petroleum plant and LOT of additives to boil a barrel of crude oil down to 20 gallons of gas.
 

Abraham Gubler

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There's nothing new here. It’s much easier to convert hydrocarbons in gaseous (natural gas) or solid (coal) form to liquids (oil) than to make hydrocarbons from scratch but all of which require an awful lot of chemistry and energy. While we can still find naturally occurring liquid hydrocarbons in the Earth’s crust it makes little sense to do it.

One thing however is certain: whenever someone uses the term “game changer” the thing they are referring to is most certainly not.
 

J.A.W.

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Nothing new indeed, since the F-T process in the U.S. was another Operation Paperclip ex-Nazi thing..

However, is it being built into the new CVNs - as adjunct to their nuclear systems?

Or able to be retrofitted - on refit - to the existing CVNs?
 

J.A.W.

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May also be cost effective/strategically desirable for the likes of Diego Garcia/Polar-type bases..
 

seruriermarshal

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So if you have a nuclear power ship , then can get fuel for other ships (DDG , CG , LHA etc ) or Jet .
 

J.A.W.

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Most of those are running gas turbines now, & accompany CVNs - everywhere they go - right?
 

J.A.W.

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Maybe the USN can make some latter-day 'Milch Cow' supply conversions from their SSBNs?
 

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What would be game changing is an electrolysis system that can crack Hydrogen at home using solar power. Power for you're home, car, etc. Maybe in 40 years.
 

J.A.W.

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Why wait 40 years? - Go back 40 years instead..

Secure the winning bid on a surplus ex-NASA deep space probe plutonium fuel cell & have at it..

Oh wait, if you had one of those, you wouldn't need the hydrocarbons - would you..

Might even make electric vehicles practicable..
 

Abraham Gubler

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kcran567 said:
What would be game changing is an electrolysis system that can crack Hydrogen at home using solar power. Power for you're home, car, etc. Maybe in 40 years.

That would be a game changer but it’s a level of solar power cell efficiency so far above current and predicted technology as to be science fiction. Might as well plan on powering your life on Unobtainium before thinking some solar on your roof will give you all the electricity needed to run your house and car.
 

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The basic idea is hardly new. In the late 1990s I was involved with a NASA-funded project to build a compact (suitcase-sized) machine that took water and carbon dioxide and turned it into methanol for rocket fuel, for use on Mars. Worked reasonably well, and could have been tinkered to produce just about any hydrocarbon, including octane.
 

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J.A.W. said:
Maybe the USN can make some latter-day 'Milch Cow' supply conversions from their SSBNs?

Given that our other subs don't need fossil fuels either, there seems to be no reason to turn SSBNs into tankers.

The naval focus would clearly be on the carriers -- to make fuel for their own aircraft and for their non-nuclear escorts. But I woudn't hold my breath on seeing this deployed. They're talking about commercial viability in 7-10 years, starting with remote land-based applications, and then sea-based ones some time after that. That's a long way down the road, even assuming that it met all their predictions, which it probably won't.
 

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SSBNs that are surplus to strategic nuclear deterrent duties could be utilized as fleet support.

They could tow a submersible tank to deliver to the air-burning ships at sea,
.. on exchange, like a gas BBQ cylinder..
 

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What possible advantage is there in this idea?


1) There are no surplus SSBNs -- they are all used either for nuclear deterrent or converted to SSGNs. And there aren't going to be any surplus SSBNs in the future - those vessels are going to be run until the very end of their seagoing lives, because they cost too much to do otherwise.


2) SSBNs are rather hard to convert to other purposes, because everything involves either hull cuts in a pressure vessel or engineering it to fit inside a missile tube.


3) There's no current mechanism for ships to take aboard fuel floating ina submerged tank alongside.


Seriously, just think these ideas through. If (big if) this idea actually does scale up and work well, it would go to sea in one of two ways. Either new underway replenishment ships with dedicated nuclear plants for fuel manufacture or, more likely, as an added capability on future aircraft carriers. But it's a full shipbuilding generation into the future -- at minimum 20-30 years.
 

J.A.W.

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Possible advantages?

By comparison with fleet train tankers..

1, Stealth, since submersibles are stealthy.

2, Submersible tanks can float with access above surface for fuel transfer ops.

3, Speed, & submerged units are not affected by inclement weather in transit.


Of course SSBNs are quite pricey, but there are a few ex-Soviet units surplus* these days..



* Ok , so sure - they are likely past their use-by date too..
 

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No one seems to care about stealthy supply ships. Underway replenishment is something you do in a secured area anyway, because it inherently makes the ships vulnerable (steering predictable courses, not moving very fast, etc.)

Refuelling ops are best done alongside and underway. The station ship (usually the tanker) has to steer a very stable course, while the receiver (usually) maneuvers to keep station and keep the hose connected. Trying to stay hooked up to a semi-submerged tank being towed by another vessel (and thus not moving in a completely controlled and predictable path) is about the worst possible refuelling scenario I can imagine.
 

J.A.W.

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Yes TS, you have provided a good reasoning indeed, - the fleet train replenishment needs to be more advanced..

If icebreakers & oil/gas rig/tankers can have accurate/sophisticated vectoring systems ought not the navy?

Even modern cruise ships are capable of independent manoeuvres with their inbuilt thrusters/pods.
 

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Commercial ships have different requirements. Some USN logistics force ships have bow thrusters, but those are useful for docking, not for stationkeeping alongside another moving vessel. Steerable pods keep showing up in proposed warship designs, but they don't generally meet shock and silencing requirements for combatants.
 

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I was thinking about how this is akin to having a chemical plant/refinery at sea, and that reminded me of how serious accidents at such plants could be. It's a nice idea - but the operational implementation of it could founder on that point. Who wants a chemical plant accident on a CVN?
 
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Is there enough CO2 in the ocean to make this realistic? I can't imagine the CO2 density in seawater being high.
 

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More than in air, if NRL is to be believed -- 100 mg/liter in water, versus less than 1 mg/liter in air.
 

J.A.W.

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What about per kilogram? ( as water is a bit denser , 1 litre = 1 Kg).
 

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