Washington: Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have now proven that it's possible to power engines instead with a cheap, convenient supply of fuel: seawater.
Though it will take another 10 years before ships will likely be able to successfully convert seawater into super-powerful fuel, but the technology is already being hailed as a game changer and is expected to substantially cut costs for the Pentagon.
This new method will turn ordinary seawater into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel potent enough to power a small model aircraft and Navy ships.
The process at hand involves extracting carbon dioxide molecules from the ocean water outside of a ship's hull and using it to produce hydrogen gas, “catalytically converting the CO2 and H2 into jet fuel by a gas-to-liquids process.”
This development is being hailed as a game changer. If Navy ships create their own fuel they can remain operational 100 percent of the time, rather than conducting frequent fuel-ups with tankers while at sea, which can be tricky in rough weather.