If you haven’t heard yet, the U.S. Navy might soon (as in, within 10 years) be using sea water to fuel its ships and jets.
At the Navy Research Laboratory, experts have been able to successfully turn salt water into a usable fuel – which means that the Navy’s ships could stay in operation 24/7 and never have to refuel at sea.
In an article from the International Business Times, Vice Admiral Philip Cullom said, “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.”
The fuel, which is liquid hydrocarbon, is estimated to cost somewhere around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the NRL. It’s created using a proprietary electrolytic cation exchange module (or E-CEM), which produces hydrogen while it extracts the carbon dioxide from sea water. After that, a different reactor converts the gasses into the liquid fuel.
By switching the Navy’s ships and jets to this new fuel, it would eliminate the worry of fuel shortages and the worry of inconsistent prices.
In the future, if production of this fuel proves to be a good investment and it can be relied upon, we might be able to commercialize the liquid hydrocarbon.
“This is the first time technology of this nature has been demonstrated with the potential for transition, from the laboratory, to full-scale commercial implementation,” NRL chemist Heather Willauer said in a CNN article.