From Seawater to Jet Fuel

Guest_Jim_* - September 26, 2012 09:12AM in Science & Technology

A critical function of any military is to move supplies where they are needed, whether that is to troops on the front lines, distant bases, or ships out at sea. Of course getting supplies to make suck a trek can be difficult and expensive, so any system that reduces what supplies are needed is investigated. Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have recently tested a system that can produce jet fuel from seawater.

Many processes in Nature can be reversed, including combustion. With the correct materials and catalysts, you can take the waste products of combustion, CO2, and water, for the hydrogen, to recreate the fuel. As seawater contains dissolved CO2 and hydrogen, the raw materials are present, leaving only the proper catalysts and chemical processes to work out. Using an acidification cell and iron catalysts, the researchers were able to create a skid that successfully recovered CO2 from water from the Gulf of Mexico and produced jet fuel.

With more work into this technology, we may see more than just jet fuel created from seawater, which will be a great benefit to the Navy. Also, studies of this method of creating jet fuel predict that once the process is optimized and scaled up, it would be producing the fuel at a cost between $3 and $6 per gallon.