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Navy to Power Ships Using Seawater-Extracted Fuel

U.S. Navy photo
U.S. Navy photo

The Department of the Navy plans to produce more than 50 percent of its jet fuel for ships from alternative sources by 2020 as part of efforts to achieve renewable energy goals, National Journal reported Friday.

Marina Koren writes the Naval Research Laboratory is developing a technology for extracting gases to be used in synthetic jet fuel production from seawater in a project led by chemist Heather Willauer.

The system works to draw seawater into a central compartment in a three-chambered cell that, in turn, converts carbon dioxide from the seawater into hydrogen, according to the report.

“If they made fuel at sea, they wouldn’t be buying it,” Willauer told the publication.

The hydrogen gas is then converted into olefins compound, which further transforms into a hydrocarbon-containing liquid through catalytic conversion in order to produce jet fuel, the report says.

Production of seawater-derived jet fuel will cost between $3 and $6 per gallon and that could be commercially available in 10 to 15 years, Willauer told National Journal.

Koren writes the Navy intends for non-petroleum fuel to help reduce costs and fulfill energy goals.

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