Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Gamechanger: US Navy turns ocean water into fuel on the cheap.

The US Naval Research Lab thinks they could turn out aviation fuel for under $6 per gallon anywhere you find ocean water. The economics of energy shapes world power. The story is at NRL and popularized a bit at the Daily Mail.

To make fuel, you need a carbon chain with hydrogen clustered along its length.  Hydrogen in the water molecules can be teased loose with electric charge, a technology that's been around for ages.  It turns out there's also a lot of carbon in the ocean water, about 100 times as much as in the air.  2/3 of it is dissolved C02 gas and 1/3  is tiny specks of carbonate.  92% of this carbon is teased out with an "innovative and proprietary NRL electrolytic exchange module" (NRL thingy). The next two steps coax it into carbon chains and clothe the chains in a hydrogen skin.  That's what all fuels, oils and waxes are made from, depending on length.  This tech has been around for quite a while too. The process is nearly pollution free.

Green has to love it.  Power-to-the-people has to love it because a scarce resource becomes everywhere commonplace.   I'd like to make and sell fuel by the sea with a hose running down the beach to the well.  If the economies of $3 to $6/gallon can only be achieved in a large plant, this will still free up some countries.   The picture of the E-CEM Carbon Capture Skid at the link looks like it would fit in a small building, even when scaled up.

Nations get along better when they are not too beholden to one another.
Fuel From Sea Concept - First Demonstrated Flight
Model airplane being fueled from the sea
with a few clever intervening steps.

No comments:

Post a Comment