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US Navy Ships to Get Fuel from Seawater

US Navy Ships to Get Fuel from Seawater 01.10.2012
Photo: navy.mil
US Navy often tests and commissions not only new weapons but also latest scientific achievements and technologies in order to gain maximum endurance of warships on long-term patrols. The new invention of the US Naval Research Laboratory is aimed at this goal. The new technology is based on the possibility to obtain fuel out of seawater with no need to call at ports for refueling.

As of today, American naval ships replenish fuel at sea with the help of special oilers carrying large amount of fuel. On the other hand, it is known that 2% of seawater is carbon dioxide as a solution of carbonic acid and other chemical compounds. Obviously, water contains hydrogen. Thus and so, seawater has all components needed for ship fuel, one should only develop technology to produce it at sea.

Scientists have found a method to obtain fuel by means of a catalyst like that used in the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. This reaction is a basis for obtaining of synthetic gasoline out of coal. Improvement of this catalyst has increased efficiency of CO2 obtaining up to 60%.

The fuel-obtaining process consists of two stages. At first, carbon dioxide and hydrogen are extracted from seawater by electrochemical oxidation in a special installation. At the second phase, fuel is obtained by use of the compounds and two different catalysts based on ferrum and nickel.

It is noteworthy that the technology has successfully passed field tests. Scientists and technicians are working on its improvement and putting it into large-scale production. Approximate cost of such fuel will be $0.8-1.6 per liter, while traditional fuel produced from oil costs somewhat $0.87.

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