Seawater Fuel – Did The Navy Just Hand Big Oil Its Pink Slip?

The US Navy just announced that it knows how to turn seawater into fuel. With this remarkable technology that processes seawater into fuel – that will cost about the same as gasoline – the Navy may have just issued Big Oil its discharge papers. The process could even be used by the general public. It’s barely making headlines in the evening news, but the process is a major threat to the fossil fuel giants. This innovative fuel technology could cost the oil industry trillions in lost revenue. As an added bonus, the process is virtually a carbon neutral process!

The technology is decades in the making, but the liquid hydrocarbon fuel should relieve the military’s dependence on oil-derived fuels. The Navy calls it a “game changer.” The US military vessels would have no need to go to refueling stations and could be operational at all times. The new seawater fuel should initially cost between three and six dollar per gallon. The Navy’s 72 submarines rely on nuclear propulsion but the Navy’s additional 289 vessels all rely on oil.

Dr. Heather Willauer, a Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) research chemist, said, “In close collaboration with the Office of Naval Research P38 Naval Reserve program, NRL has developed a game changing technology for extracting, simultaneously, CO2 and H2 from seawater. 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.”

The Navy has already demonstrated the seawater fuel proof-of-concept with a radio-controlled replica of the historic WWII P-51 Mustan:

Next, the Navy will work on producing the seawater-based fuel in larger quantities. The Navy’s plans include partnering with universities to increase the amount of CO2 and carbon they can get from the seawater. According to IBT, “The breakthrough came after scientists developed a way to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater.”

This is different from the water-based hydrogen fuel technology we read about a few years ago. According to the Navy, “The resulting liquid contains hydrocarbon molecules in the carbon range, C9-C16, suitable for use a possible renewable replacement for petroleum based jet fuel.” The press release from the Navy Research Lab added, “with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years.” The new technology allows them to process the seawater without added chemicals or pollutants. The Navy Research Laboratory believes that makes this new technology far superior to previously developed membrane and ion exchange technologies that used CO2 from seawater or air.

Would you love to give oil companies the boot and use the seawater fuel the Navy says is clean and renewable?