U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel.

  • metta

    Posts: 39134

    Apr 14, 2014 7:08 AM GMT
    U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel.


    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/04/12/navy-ends-big-oil/


    "1. The process pulls carbon dioxide (the greenhouse gas driving Climate Change) out of the ocean. One of the less well-publicized aspects of Climate Change is that the ocean acts like a sponge for CO2 and it’s just about reached its safe limit. The ocean is steadily becoming more acidic from all of the increased carbon dioxide. This in turn poisons delicate ecosystems like coral reefs that keep the ocean healthy.

    If we pull out massive amounts of CO2, even if we burn it again, not all of it will make it back into the water. Hell, we could even pull some of it and not use it in order to return the ocean to a sustainable level. That, in turn will help pull more of the excess CO2 out of the air even as we put it back. It would be the ultimate in recycling.

    2. This will devastate oil rich countries but it will get us the hell out of the Middle East (another reason Republicans will oppose this). Let’s be honest, we’re not in the Middle East for humanitarian reasons. We’re there for oil. Period. We spend trillions to secure our access to it and fight a “war” on terrorism. Take away our need to be there and, suddenly, justifying our overseas adventures gets a lot harder to sell."


  • ASHDOD

    Posts: 1057

    Apr 14, 2014 10:27 AM GMT
    sounds a little bit ''to good to be true''
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    Apr 14, 2014 11:08 AM GMT
    So they take the co2 from the oceans and make it into hydrocarbons which can be used as fuel...burnt, producing energy and co2....

    So where does the energy obtained come from ?
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    Apr 14, 2014 11:15 AM GMT
    Seriously? Must you interject politics into every thread?
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    Apr 14, 2014 12:26 PM GMT
    this is quite possibly the worst, most half-baked article i've read in a while. There's absolutely NO useful explanation of the technology, rather what seems like an entire paragraph of technobable so deep that you're left wondering if they maybe made some of it up. i'm sure a chemist would know if they did or not but this isn't a scientific journal we're reading. Write to your audience and if you don't understand something don't just copy what someone smarter than you says, get them to explain it to you so you can explain it to your readers.

    The US needs to invest in electrical infrastructure. We need green power generation, an integrated national grid and computer control to manage it. Grants should be give to develop new battery technologies that don't harm the environment as much as current ones and can be designed and built here.

    Lets think about it this way: Most of the world's oil reserves are being tapped today and we've already seen some fields go dry IIRC. What happens when the others start going dry? What if they all go dry within a 10 year span? The entire GLOBE will convulse under that. The majority of our global transportation infrastructure is based on fossil fuels today. Cargo ships, aircraft, freight trains, long-haul trucks, etc. What if in the span of 10 years all of that became useless with almost no chance of powering it again? Wouldn't you rather be prepared for the inevitable than "party on" until the last drop?
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    Apr 14, 2014 12:56 PM GMT
    I'm also puzzled by the use of seawater. Wouldn't freshwater be a better choice for this process? Seems the residual salts left behind would be a problem. Perhaps the Navy is only concerned with operations at sea, and not civilian applications, but I'd think that freshwater would make the process easier. Assuming any of this is true, or practical on a commercial scale.

    The original article headline might have been more accurately written as: "U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn WATER into fuel", not SEAwater.
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    Apr 14, 2014 2:06 PM GMT
    Excellent story Metta. I love how it shows not just the science, but how silly can be the doomsdayers, that mid-move there might be some game changers.

    http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2012/fueling-the-fleet-navy-looks-to-the-seas
    Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are developing a process to extract carbon dioxide (CO2) and produce hydrogen gas (H2) from seawater, subsequently catalytically converting the CO2 and H2 into jet fuel by a gas-to-liquids process.

    "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," says research chemist, Dr. Heather Willauer
    .


    http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2014/scale-model-wwii-craft-takes-flight-with-fuel-from-the-sea-concept
    Fueled by a liquid hydrocarbon—a component of NRL's novel gas-to-liquid (GTL) process that uses CO2 and H2 as feedstock—the research team demonstrated sustained flight of a radio-controlled (RC) P-51 replica of the legendary Red Tail Squadron, powered by an off-the-shelf (OTS) and unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.

    Using an innovative and proprietary NRL electrolytic cation exchange module (E-CEM), both dissolved and bound CO2 are removed from seawater at 92 percent efficiency by re-equilibrating carbonate and bicarbonate to CO2 and simultaneously producing H2. The gases are then converted to liquid hydrocarbons by a metal catalyst in a reactor system
    .
  • metta

    Posts: 39134

    Apr 14, 2014 4:06 PM GMT
    StudlyScrewRite said Seriously? Must you interject politics into every thread?


    Where did I do that? I didn't write the story. The portion that I put in the thread did not say anything about politics. Even if I would have done that, which I did not, this is the News & Politics board.
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    Apr 14, 2014 4:23 PM GMT
    metta8 said
    StudlyScrewRite said Seriously? Must you interject politics into every thread?

    Where did I do that? I didn't write the story. The portion that I put in the thread did not say anything about politics. Even if I would have done that, which I did not, this is the News & Politics board.

    Correct, whose creation I proposed and for which I wrote its terse description: "Discuss general news & politics"

    Your post complies with this being a "general news" item. Alternatively it might have gone into the "Science & Technology" thread, although its description is a bit narrow: "Discuss tech products and experiences".

    Given the emphasis on products and personal experiences, this larger US Navy development would default to News.
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    Apr 14, 2014 4:33 PM GMT
    RoadsterRacer87 saidthis is quite possibly the worst, most half-baked article i've read in a while. There's absolutely NO useful explanation of the technology, rather what seems like an entire paragraph of technobable so deep that you're left wondering if they maybe made some of it up. i'm sure a chemist would know if they did or not but this isn't a scientific journal we're reading. Write to your audience and if you don't understand something don't just copy what someone smarter than you says, get them to explain it to you so you can explain it to your readers.



    OK. They're using pH changes to extract CO2 from water. Like the same thing that makes soda pop fizz. Then they're using that to make synthetic fuels. Its just coupling together two or three things that have been well-known for more than a century into a process to make jet fuel.

    The whole thing requires massive amounts of electricity. It's not any kind of a global "game-changer." It's a way to make fuel for your fighter planes if you are stuck in the middle of the ocean with a nuclear reactor but no oil well or refinery nearby.

    More specifically, it's a way to extract excess money from the military budget for your research project. The likelihood that the navy would actually build ship-sized units, instead of just sending in a tanker full of cheap ready-made fuel is pretty small.
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    Apr 14, 2014 4:38 PM GMT


    Really, Southbeach, your argument is with Justin Rosario.

    ...and Justin I think is wrong on his republican comment.

  • metta

    Posts: 39134

    Apr 14, 2014 4:50 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    metta8 said
    StudlyScrewRite said Seriously? Must you interject politics into every thread?


    Where did I do that? I didn't write the story. The portion that I put in the thread did not say anything about politics. Even if I would have done that, which I did not, this is the News & Politics board.


    OK, Metta8, don't you even bother to read what you are copying and pasting?

    Also, you must be aware Metta8, that your sources (thinkprogress.org, addictinginfo.org, mediamatters and the like) are all far leftist sites. By definition, your "sources" are highly politically motivated to support and advance the views of the left.


    Ok, but my intent was not to attack Republicans.
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    Apr 14, 2014 4:57 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    Really, Southbeach, your argument is with Justin Rosario.

    ...and Justin I think is wrong on his republican comment.

    Agree. What the author should have said is that Republicans will DELAY the roll-out of this technology, not permanently block it, until their billionaire friends have cornered the market and created a monopoly, and been able to integrate this new industry into the existing energy infrastructure they already control. And THEN it will move forward.

    But that's all hypothetical, too, since I'm skeptical this technology would have practical, large-scale commercial applications. The Navy wants a specialized application for producing liquid jet fuel at sea, apparently.

    The real trick for commercial use may be to extract hydrogen from water, and use the hydrogen gas for fuel, rather than for making hydrocarbons. And finding a way to efficiently utilize a part of that hydrogen fuel to generate the large amounts of electricity needed (at present) to separate the hydrogen from water.

    In other words, a self-sustaining process, that yields enough "extra" hydrogen to be a viable fuel source for other purposes. But getting more hydrogen out of the process than you put in may run up against some real technological hurdles, and possibly some laws of physics that I wouldn't understand.
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    Apr 14, 2014 5:10 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Art_Deco,

    Please see the other topic in this forum re: the Nevada rancher. It turned out that Harry Reid (D-NV) was behind the escalation because he was involved with a Chinese company's $5 billion plan to use that land for solar energy purposes.

    So while Republicans have billionaire friends, and use them to personally enrich themselves, so to do Democrats. Please try and not be so one-sided.

    This rancher hasn't been paying his fees for grazing on public lands since the 1990s. The case has been working its way through the Federal courts for years. It was some recent court decisions that prompted BLM to take the action they did.

    And BLM, despite misleading headlines, likely has only made a tactical retreat on the ground, to prevent a violent confrontation that this rancher himself has orchestrated, his "range war". The court decisions against him remain unaltered, and BLM, and the Federal government overall, have other punitive options to use with him. I hope they do.

    Seizing his cattle grazing illegally on Federal land was one option, and legal, but unpopular with nutjobs who want no government at all. I hope the next option is to strip him of all his assets and possessions, to pay the debt he owes the American taxpayers, with maybe some jail time for good measure. It happens to others all the time.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Apr 14, 2014 5:15 PM GMT
    lol riiiight, I wonder how much massive amount of electricity and/or nuclear energy this process requires (nuclear energy the Navy used to generate the electricity) if it's true.
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    Apr 14, 2014 5:24 PM GMT
    tj85016 saidlol riiiight, I wonder how much massive amount of electricity and/or nuclear energy this process requires (nuclear energy the Navy used to generate the electricity) if it's true.

    As I understand it, at present you have to put more energy in than you get out. In the Navy's case it can be an issue of urgent availability of jet fuel in a tactical environment, which outweighs monetary considerations. That would not apply in a free-market economy.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 14, 2014 5:26 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidThose who say Bundy is a “deadbeat” are making inaccurate claims.

    Cliven Bundy’s problem isn’t that he didn’t pay — he did — or that his cattle bother tortoises — they don’t — it’s that he’s not a Reid donor.

    http://danaloeschradio.com/the-real-story-of-the-bundy-ranch/

    I guess Harry Reid controls the Federal courts, too.

    And please don't link to declared Conservative sites, whose opinions are already predetermined, with "facts" tailored to support them. When you link to something mainstream with journalistic credentials we might have a discussion.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Apr 14, 2014 5:36 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    tj85016 saidlol riiiight, I wonder how much massive amount of electricity and/or nuclear energy this process requires (nuclear energy the Navy used to generate the electricity) if it's true.

    As I understand it, at present you have to put more energy in than you get out. In the Navy's case it can be an issue of urgent availability of jet fuel in a tactical environment, which outweighs monetary considerations. That would not apply in a free-market economy.


    granted yes, even if that's true, I don't understand where the carbon comes from (jet fuel is basically kerosene); if they just pull out hydrogen, H2 is a really lousy jet fuel. I have a BSME, so I'm not THAT stupid
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    Apr 14, 2014 6:28 PM GMT
    Hydrogen fusion (to helium) is the power of stars, and because we can't create those pressures on Earth via gravity, we use extremely high power focused lasers to accomplish fusion here on Earth, or the power of a nuclear fission bomb to start fusion within a contained structure (the H bomb / fusion bomb). The issue currently is that we have to put more power into starting the fusion reaction (when using lasers) than we're able to get back out of it, but, that's changing, and much to the chagrin of The GOP, their rich friends, and the "energy" industry. In H bombs, the containment is the bomb, and a 20Kton A bomb (or something like that), can fire a 80Mton H bomb. In the case of the bomb, we get way more energy out than we did to get the reaction started, so...we know it can be done.

    Once we're able to sustain that fusion reaction, and...that's just a matter of time, even if The GOP and Big Energy fight it, we'll be able to power a city of a million people for a day on just the hydrogen in a plain glass of water. That is, we can power a city of a million people for a year on just 365 glasses of water.

    As you can imagine, this has huge implications on society, our evolution, travel, and so on. It's nearly a limitless amount of power that's there to be extracted.

    It has some extremely interesting uses in very high power applications for the military, space travel, but, most of all, it keeps the environment from heating up as it's well on the way to doing, and has been doing.

    The current state of the science is that when that first fusion fires, it needs to capture enough of that energy to sustain the reaction, using the lasers to create the high pressures to start the reaction (current, working, technology), and the containment to continue the reaction (not yet working). At the moment, the containment is posing a problem, but, it, too, will be resolved. Once containment is able to return enough pressure / power to sustain the reaction...problem solved. Water in; energy out.

    Fusion reaction don't have a runaway scenario, because the pressures involved are so high (gravity creates the pressures in stellar objects, but, we can't use gravity here on Earth, so, we create those pressures using lasers).

    Fusion power, and..it will happen, is a giant leap forward..in our ability to preserve our planet, but, also, in our ability to create previously unimaginable amounts of power.

    The GOP, and Big Oil, will fight it, as they do most things that are on the right side of history, but, ultimately, we'll have fusion power.

    And, yes, Big Money wants to obstruct until they can control, and manipulate, and make massive profits, just because those folks run on that moral compass.
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    Apr 14, 2014 7:09 PM GMT
    tj85016 said
    Art_Deco said
    tj85016 saidlol riiiight, I wonder how much massive amount of electricity and/or nuclear energy this process requires (nuclear energy the Navy used to generate the electricity) if it's true.

    As I understand it, at present you have to put more energy in than you get out. In the Navy's case it can be an issue of urgent availability of jet fuel in a tactical environment, which outweighs monetary considerations. That would not apply in a free-market economy.


    granted yes, even if that's true, I don't understand where the carbon comes from (jet fuel is basically kerosene); if they just pull out hydrogen, H2 is a really lousy jet fuel. I have a BSME, so I'm not THAT stupid


    It's called the "Fischer-Tropsch Process," and has been around for a hundred years. Germany used it to produce some fuels for WWII. A bit of natural oil is made that way in geothermal settings, but it's small compared to the amount produced by buried organic matter.
    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer–Tropsch_process[/url]
  • MikeW

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    Apr 14, 2014 7:15 PM GMT
    tj85016 saidlol riiiight, I wonder how much massive amount of electricity and/or nuclear energy this process requires (nuclear energy the Navy used to generate the electricity) if it's true.
    This is what I was thinking, does it take more energy to produce than you gain by the conversion? Probably.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Apr 14, 2014 7:27 PM GMT
    MikeW said
    tj85016 saidlol riiiight, I wonder how much massive amount of electricity and/or nuclear energy this process requires (nuclear energy the Navy used to generate the electricity) if it's true.
    This is what I was thinking, does it take more energy to produce than you gain by the conversion? Probably.


    Mike it takes a gigantic amount of energy to pull carbon from seawater, this is all pie-in-the-sky. To pull enough carbon from seawater to make fuel for a fighter jet to fly for an hour is ridiculous

    btw, hydrogen is a horrible fuel for realistic use
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    Apr 14, 2014 7:31 PM GMT
    Bodycontactau saidSo they take the co2 from the oceans and make it into hydrocarbons which can be used as fuel...burnt, producing energy and co2....

    So where does the energy obtained come from ?


    O-kaaaayy, so leaving the politics aside icon_rolleyes.gif and getting back to the science, it's not that they are "taking co2", rather they appear to be taking calcium bicarbonate and breaking out the Hydrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide. I presume the oxygen is released, the hydrogen becomes the liquefied fuel, and the carbon dioxide is captured.

    2(HCO3-) ---> 2(CO2) + H2 + O2 + 2(e-)

  • tj85016

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    Apr 14, 2014 7:36 PM GMT
    ^^

    lol you can't run a jet engine on liquid hydrogen - well, in theory, you can, but it's so impractical is absurd
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    Apr 14, 2014 8:00 PM GMT


    http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2014/scale-model-wwii-craft-takes-flight-with-fuel-from-the-sea-concept
    The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years.