Photo: Robert Johnson – Business Insider
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is on the verge of a breakthrough process that transforms seawater into jet fuel.Though it sounds too good to be true, the scientists at NRL are developing a process that extracts carbon dioxide (CO2) and produces hydrogen gas (H2) from seawater. The gases are then converted into liquids and combined, thus creating viable jet fuel.
The successful implementation of this technology could mean unlimited fuel resources for the Navy, and would address the current difficulty of refueling at sea. The new technology would also be less of an environmental—as well as financial—burden, and would allow the U.S. Navy to become more independent of foreign oil sources.
“The potential payoff is the ability to produce JP-5 fuel stock at sea reducing the logistics tail on fuel delivery with no environmental burden and increasing the Navy’s energy security and independence,” research chemist Dr. Heather Willauer said in a Navy press release.
The NRL’s findings come close on the heels of the recent “Great Green Fleet” controversy in July, where the defence Department was under fire from critics for the $12 million cost of fuel made from 90% cooking oil waste and 10% from refined algae. Congressional Republicans such as Senator McCain lambasted the government and President Obama for trying to promote alternative fuels that made little economic sense.
Reuters reported the cost of biofuels for a Green Fleet demonstration was $26 a gallon compared with the average fossil fuel cost of $4.
Initial studies predict that jet fuel from seawater would cost in the range of $3 to $6 per gallon to produce according to the NRL, making it a contender with traditional oil sources.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.