US Navy Develops Technology to Turn Sea Water Into Fuel: Death Knell For Big Oil?



Apparently the Navy has developed the capacity to convert sea water into fuel. They say that it can power a number of different vehicles. (But probably not your car until the petrol companies have sucked each and every drop of oil out of the Earth. Then they’ll probably monetize sea water…)

The US Navy believes it has finally worked out the solution to a problem that has intrigued scientists for decades: how to take seawater and use it as fuel.

The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel is being hailed as “a game-changer” because it would signficantly [SIC] shorten the supply chain, a weak link that makes any force easier to attack.

The US has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers, and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion.

All other vessels must frequently abandon their mission for a few hours to navigate in parallel with the tanker, a delicate operation, especially in bad weather.

The ultimate goal is to eventually get away from the dependence on oil altogether, which would also mean the navy is no longer hostage to potential shortages of oil or fluctuations in its cost.

Vice Admiral Philip Cullom declared: “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.

“We need to challenge the results of the assumptions that are the result of the last six decades of constant access to cheap, unlimited amounts of fuel,” added Cullom.

“Basically, we’ve treated energy like air, something that’s always there and that we don’t worry about too much. But the reality is that we do have to worry about it.”

US experts have found out how to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater.

Then, using a catalytic converter, they transformed them into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process. They hope the fuel will not only be able to power ships, but also planes.

Keep reading at Yahoo News.

  • Echar Lailoken


  • Number1Framer

    Thank God they’re only thinking of using this technology for peaceful and productive purposes…

  • Anarchy Pony

    And the emissions produced through the use of this fuel?

    • Enthusiast

      If they are using water and CO2 to produce hydrocarbons, the output of the process of making it will be oxygen and the output of burning it will be CO2 and water.

  • UncleB

    This technology will never be made available to the average American person.

    • alizardx

      This is not something you can put in your back yard (link to Naval Research Labs press release describing process above)

      It may also not make sense outside a specific military context. If the price to produce a gallon of gas is >$3, think about what it’ll cost you at retail at a gas pump.

  • InfvoCuernos

    Of course, the irony is that, now that they will have a cheap easy replacement for oil, we won’t need a massive military to keep “acquire” sources of oil. Even if this doesn’t make it to the civilian market for years, the average person might not realize just how much fuel oil has been burned up during this last decade in the name of keeping our sources of Gulf Oil flowing. That’s the real secret of the Iraq War: not that it wasn’t fought for oil, but that the fighting of it drastically consumed so much oil, that all the oil companies from around the world profited.

    • alizardx

      While the irony of a beyond-oil US Navy fighting to protect US corp access to oil is entertaining, this may be a process that’s only useful for very specific niches. There’s not a lot of market outside the military for powering jet aircraft taking off from aircraft carriers.

      There’s some good discussion of the niche possibilities in the discussion accompanying the Naval Research Labs press release – this process may be oversold as a general-purpose replacement for oil from the usual sources.

      • InfvoCuernos

        Thanks for that link

    • Rhoid Rager

      The state is self-consuming. That’s its only purpose–to cannibalize.

  • Dmonix

    Now I ain’t no Scientist or anything, but wouldn’t the World wide consumption of sea water as fuel not way out? Wouldn’t we run out of sea water?

    • Hoarfraust


    • Rey d’Tutto

      Global Oil Consumption is close to 89-90 million barrels (55 gallon is my assumption) per day, or 1,806,750,000,000 gallons annually (Just under 2 trillion).
      Estimates put the Oceans around 352 quintillion gallons of water, or near 200 million times as much.
      Additionally, this process is a chemical division of saltwater, and a chemical recombination of the same, for a net zero loss. (the water is recycled, essentially).
      Just my $.02.

  • Rhoid Rager

    I want to know the EROEI of this gas-to-liquids process. I bet it’s in the range of ethanol– .8:1.
    And I love this line: “US experts have found out how to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater.” Careful everyone, electrolysis should be left to the US experts!

    • Anarchy Pony

      But if they put the converters on their nuke ships then they’ll easily be able to transfer the nuclear power to ships without reactors.

      • Rhoid Rager

        Yeah, I don’t know what to make of that. Is anyone gonna want to serve in the military when oil supplies to the states start to drop off and the national boundaries start to fray?

        • ÿ

          …orphans, prisoners, debt serfs, “able-bodied” welfare recipients…

          & that’s before a draft.

          On the plus side, maybe the next iteration of pirate utopia will be nuclear powered. Onward, Potemkin!!!

          • Rhoid Rager

            thanks for the rosey picture….i’m off to the mountain now.

          • ÿ

            future waterfront property?

            solid investment.