U.S. Navy researchers say they’ve figured out a way to convert seawater into jet fuel, the Huffington Post reports.
Experts have been working on the idea for almost a decade, Discover notes; it could be commercially viable within 10 years, the Navy says. Right now, however, researchers are showing off the technique using a model plane.
It works by pulling carbon dioxide and hydrogen from water using a catalytic converter, Discover explains. Those gases are turned into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel that could, experts hope, power both planes and ships, AFP reports. The system could potentially shave hours off the at-sea refueling process and eliminate time spent away from missions.
Currently, most of the Navy’s vessels rely entirely on oil-based fuel, with the exception of some aircraft carriers and submarines that use nuclear propulsion, reports theInternational Business Times. The ability to render fuel from seawater may change that.
“For us in the military, in the Navy, we have some pretty unusual and different kinds of challenges,” Vice Admiral Philip Cullom told Agence-France Presse. “We don’t necessarily go to a gas station to get our fuel. Our gas station comes to us in terms of an oiler, a replenishment ship. Developing a game-changing technology like this, seawater to fuel, really is something that reinvents a lot of the way we can do business when you think about logistics, readiness.”
Developing a game-changing technology like this, seawater to fuel, really is something that reinvents a lot of the way we can do business.”