View Full Version : Goodbye, Oil: US Navy Cracks New Renewable Energy Technology To Turn Seawater Into Fuel

13th April 2014, 15:48
This article looks legit. Does anyone know more?

From: International Business Times
By Christopher Harress
on April 08 2014 6:00 AM


After decades of experiments, U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel.The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel could one day relieve the military’s dependence on oil-based fuels and is being heralded as a “game changer” because it could allow military ships to develop their own fuel and stay operational 100 percent of the time, rather than having to refuel at sea.

The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft on it.

The Navy’s 289 vessels all rely on oil-based fuel, with the exception of some aircraft carriers and 72 submarines that rely on nuclear propulsion. Moving away from that reliance would free the military from fuel shortages and fluctuations in price.

"It's a huge milestone for us," said Vice Adm. Philip Cullom. "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."

The breakthrough came after scientists developed a way to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater. The gasses are then turned into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process with the help of catalytic converters.

"For us in the military, in the Navy, we have some pretty unusual and different kinds of challenges," said Cullom. "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."

The next challenge for the Navy is to produce the fuel in industrial quantities. It will also partner with universities to maximize the amount of CO2 and carbon they can recapture.

”For the first time we've been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously. That's a big breakthrough," said Dr. Heather Willauer, a research chemist who has spent nearly a decade on the project, adding that the fuel "doesn't look or smell very different."

“We've demonstrated the feasibility, we want to improve the process efficiency," explained Willauer.

13th April 2014, 16:30
It is not an efficient process, more energy is needed to get a conversion of extracted CO2 and Hydrogen from electrolysis.

The title should be "Hello World, more CO2 atmospheric pollution coming your way !" when the bound CO2 which was being remediated from the atmosphere, absorbed by the seawater, (dissolved stored "sequestration" ) is now put into the atmosphere to contribute to global warming, and polar icepack melting. Gees.. another shell-game of using research money that could go to real free energy, being used in a non-efficient manner.

What is not mentioned is during the electrolysis to crack Hydrogen from sea water (H2 O + NaCl), the Chlorine gas (toxic) from the salt (NaCl sodium chloride) present in the seawater is liberated, or has to be bound back again into some metallic ion. Lye, NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide) is formed, another caustic poison. Burning seawater has never been sensible, and CO2 again is liberated to the atmosphere when the fuel is combusted. The CO2 is taken from where it is stable in the ocean, is able to provide food for organisms, and is put back into the atmosphere when the fuel is burned in the engines... This is stupid.

This salt issue has plagued the "burn seawater electrolysis cells" being used to try to come up with commercially viable alternative to burning hydrocarbons. Distilling the salt water to pure water, or trying unique interesting "RF" burning methods have been used. No one has successfully shown that they can deal with the Lye formation or the Chlorine gas formation.

ref: http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2014/04/08/dont-get-too-excited-but-the-us-navy-can-now-make-gasoline-from-seawater/

Despite the hype there in the various news articles picking this research up (which was going on two years ago), there is no free lunch from trying to get CO2 from Seawater, dealing with the Chlorine gas, the excess energy requirement to affect the process, and dealing with catalyst poisoning from the various metals and salts present in seawater and dealing with the net energy loss of trying to liberate H2 (Hydrogen) through electrolysis.

Scrippts WoodHole Oceanographic in California has shown the method of extracting CO2 from seawater. It requires the addition of Phosphoric Acid (another poison) to the seawater to cause the CO2 to break free from the bound form found in seawater. That CO2 then becomes a free gas that is used in the next reactor to combine with hydrogen to cross-link into a synthetic hydrocarbon "fuel". The net process is an intense energy LOSS, meaning more energy in than is possible to get energy out (in the form of a combustible fuel).

ref: http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/research/sea_water_co2_2.html


As you can see below the apparatus to create a fraction of a volume of CO2 gas is quite large. Airplanes, ships burn thousands of gallons.. A production apparatus to create any usable amount would be as big or bigger than any existing hydrocarbon refinery.


Chlorine Production from SeaWater - http://www.ilo.org/oshenc/part-xii/chemical-processing/examples-of-chemical-processing-operations/item/379-chlorine-and-caustic-production?tmpl=component&print=1 "Electrolysis of salt brines produces chlorine and caustic. Sodium chloride (NaCl) is the primary salt used; it yields caustic soda (NaOH)." Chlorine is extremely toxic, when wet it will produce steel eating hypochlorous acid, which can even dissolve acid resistant stainless steel.

The "process" is a creation of an imbalance, between the water (hydrogen and oxygen) by breaking up the water to release hydrogen for the catalytic reformation, to liberate chlorine to create a toxic gas poison by the electrolysis of water plus salt, to create an imbalance of liberating stored CO2 which was absorbed from the atmosphere or from dissolved carbonate sources, and to put CO2 back into the atmosphere when the resultant synthesized fuel is burned..

This is not smart, IMHO.

13th April 2014, 18:17
It is not an efficient process, more energy is needed to get a conversion of extracted CO2 and Hydrogen from electrolysis.

This is not smart, IMHO.
It's not "energy smart", in and of itself.

But it's quite useful in the situation that one has abundant energy sources in a less convenient form, and bazillions of energy consuming devices already in use that are built to use a liquid petroleum fuel.

So ... combine this with some over unity energy devices (in the future) or some nuclear power plants (now), and one has a very useful solution.

Chlorine Production from SeaWater - http://www.ilo.org/oshenc/part-xii/chemical-processing/examples-of-chemical-processing-operations/item/379-chlorine-and-caustic-production?tmpl=component&print=1 "Electrolysis of salt brines produces chlorine and caustic. Sodium chloride (NaCl) is the primary salt used; it yields caustic soda (NaOH)." Chlorine is extremely toxic, when wet it will produce steel eating hypochlorous acid, which can even dissolve acid resistant stainless steel.
On the other hand ... you may well have a good point there :).

13th April 2014, 18:22
Wonder if it works similar to this:


13th April 2014, 19:49
Thanks from a nonscientific type; you wrote your thread in easy to understand language.

13th April 2014, 21:44
What about Stanley Meyer's waterfuelcell.org? He claims that he can separate the oxygen and hydrogen in real time to power existing combustion engines without the huge amounts of energy we're taught is needed. He claims that all you need is high voltage applied in a pulsed frequency - just voltage not amperage. I watched the in-depth scientific explanations he prepared (not fully understanding of course) and he seems to have rebutted successfully all the criticisms of hydrogen as a viable fuel.

The comments about chlorine and sodium do seem to be valid, but couldn't salt be filtered out relatively easily before the electrolysis?

13th April 2014, 22:07
That is possible with Stan Meyer's modulator, for a small amount of hydrox creation (hydrogen oxygen separated). Their jet engines and other engines just do NOT run on hydroxy. They need CARBON - that is the problem. And they need liquid hydrocarbon.

This is the issue, not that hydrogen can be separated from water: These folks in the military research group are wanting to remove stable sequestered (put into the sea safely) CO2 originally from the air and CO2 from carbonates, and rebuild the CO2 into Carbon Monoxide (CO) and cause it to tack onto Hydrogen using catalysts. The carbon is linked to the hydrogen eventually a hydrocarbon is created. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrocarbon)

Then they burn hydrocarbon in their jet engines or other combustion engines. Their jets cannot run on hydroxy hydrogen+oxygen gaseous fuel. So it's moot to discuss Stan's electrolyzers when dealing with what the military science groups want to do. They are creating a dangerous situation with putting stored carbon back into the atmosphere.

The CO2 is removed from the seawater where it was safe there, and put it back into the atmosphere, thereby facilitating Green House Gas production. By the sounds of it, they want to do it in massive amounts.. primarily for expediency, so that they don't have to buy refined oil.

CO2 emission comes from hydrocarbon burning (gasoline, diesel etc), and it goes into the atmosphere during the combustion process. It doesn't matter if it is synthetic gasoline, or crude refined gasoline, burning it puts CO2, and CO into the atmosphere. That is bad.

That expediency that they claim of making their own synthetic hydrocarbon, they seem to think is going to save them money instead of getting refined fuel from a refinery shipped to their aircraft carriers. But they admit it costs more per gallon to make. And it is a net energy loss to produce it so everyone looses in the long run. Makes no sense.

The issue still remains the same, CO and CO2 is still being emitted into the atmosphere during burning. Green House Gas that is is not good planetwide. The world knows this.

It seems to me what is being forgotten is, the CO2 which was safely stored IN the seawater, in a form which was all nice and stable, and kept out of the atmosphere, ends up being removed and put back up into the atmosphere, through Contrails, Jet Exhaust.. in pollution.

In the seawater it is safe, in the atmosphere it is not safe. That should be simple to understand.

The emissions from burning hydrocarbons will never-the-less contribute to increasing global green house gases, CO and CO2.

The Chlorine danger from an electrolysis step to crack seawater to get the hydrogen out of it, is not something to trivialize. Even if they used a type of reverse osmosis to create pure water (salt free), what would happen is a toxic sludge buildup will have to be dealt from the salt/dissolved metals separation to make "pure water" - dumping at sea no doubt is what they would do with these toxins.. We worry now what happens to the polluted water used in fracking wells, how about concentrated toxic metal sludge from "refining" seawater?

All that extra salt is going to be dumped back into the sea as well as all the other heavy metals. Think about what dumping toxins into the sea means.. That is dumping into the sea putting a toxin into the food chain. Also Reverse Osmosis membrane filters are not cheap, they break down. The catalysts are not cheap and they break down.

All and all, if hydrocarbon fuels are going to be burned, using seawater as the source of the "carbon" where the atmospheric carbon was previously safely stored in the sea, means it's being taken from its safe stable form and put into the atmosphere again. That is worrisome.

Expediency or not to get jet fuel to aircraft carrier planes, removing a safely sequestered carbon (in the form of CO2) from seawater and putting it high up in the atmosphere by jet flight is not smart.

This action of removal of sequestered carbon from the sea, to put back into the atmosphere also probably violates United Nations Conventions on the Law (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:7sYkHilI_iUJ:sustainabledevelopment .un.org/content/documents/1486havercroft_paper_legal.pdf+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us) of the Sea 1982, the London Convention 1972, its later 1996 Protocol, and the regional 1992 OSPAR Convention.. - "CO2 shall not find its way back into the atmosphere" is the prime consideration besides dealing with dumping pollutants back into the sea.

Increasing the salinity, dumping heavy metal salts, or changing the natural environment of the sea (and atmosphere) is not safe - that is an immense amount of created pollution. Putting safely previously seawater stored CO2 back into the atmosphere is certainly not smart.

13th April 2014, 22:22
Well they have it hard. They need to create a system that is bad "efficiency" wise and hard to make, so that it wont be used against oil, and on the other hand they need to provide abundance of easily obtained 1st resource.

So sea water is the Obvious 1st resource. We all know that you can get Hydrogen from water (sea i think is a bit harder) but if they create a good process + good engine then it will effect oil. So they are screwed to use a weird - dangerous material so that it can solve the resupplying problems of the Navy.

Once more its painfully obvious how the oil dependent world effects progress. If only the oil people didnt rule our world ... dreams would had been a reality.

14th April 2014, 00:58
Paul and Bobd, could the Chloride be captured somehow in a copper vessel, or mixed in an economically advantageous manner, with monoatomic or nanoparticle copper, in such a manner that it is contained and reusable?

It could be used in the Wacker Process for example:



The Wacker process or the Hoechst-Wacker process (named after the chemical companies of the same name) originally referred to the oxidation of ethylene to acetaldehyde by oxygen in water in the presence of a tetrachloropalladate(II) catalyst.[1] The same basic reaction is currently used to produce aldehydes and ketones from a number of alkenes with the Monsanto process for producing acetic acid. This chemical reaction, a German invention, was the first organometallic and organopalladium reaction applied on an industrial scale. The Wacker process is similar to hydroformylation, which is also an industrial process and also leads to aldehyde compounds. The differences are that hydroformylation promotes chain extension, and uses a rhodium-based catalyst system. The Wacker process is an example of homogeneous catalysis. The palladium complex with ethylene is reminiscent of Zeise's salt, K[PtCl3(C2H4)] which is a heterogeneous catalyst.

this is also interesting:

Solutions of CuCl in HCl or NH3 absorb carbon monoxide to form colourless complexes such as the chloride-bridged dimer [CuCl(CO)]2. The same hydrochloric acid solutions also react with acetylene gas to form [CuCl(C2H2)]. Ammoniacal solutions of CuCl react with acetylenes to form the explosive copper(I) acetylide, Cu2C2. Complexes of CuCl with alkenes can be prepared by reduction of CuCl2 by sulfur dioxide in the presence of the alkene in alcohol solution. Complexes with dienes such as 1,5-cyclooctadiene are particularly stable:[7]

what are some uses for actively absorbing Carbon Monoxide? @@

p.s. what the hell lol http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organocopper

14th April 2014, 02:44
Paul and Bobd, could the Chloride be captured somehow in a copper vessel, or mixed in an economically advantageous manner, with monoatomic or nanoparticle copper, in such a manner that it is contained and reusable?
Perhaps Bob knows. I have no clue :).

14th April 2014, 06:29
Perhaps we should ask Onawah if a detailed discussion of the chemistry of the process described in the OP is warranted in this thread..

As I read it, the OP question, is with what the Navy and mil scientists are doing (with the experimentation) and I assume if the "end result", is it Legit..

As far as legitimate, there are multiple news sources citing the experimentation was done. Can it be done, of course.

My feeling is there is the sensationalism about "burning water" and that has caused folks to miss the dangers of what the military scientific groups are suggesting be implemented big time..

As I pointed out, removing carbon from its safe repository in the seawater and putting back into the air is irresponsible, and irresponsible environmentally. Dumping toxic wastes from the salt brine/metals from seawater purification would be against UN and international mandates and treaties. Those are the two major environmental issues.

I can keep this technical explanation really simple I think and stay within the spirit of the OP to stay on topic. Is the process legitimate?

Trying to come up with a way to sequester the toxic byproducts could be done in some form that can be transported back on-shore, but the end issue I believe is and this is the most important factor, safely stored carbon (natural processes) in the seawater is being taken out of its safe location and moved to the atmosphere.

Is the technique legitimate? Does it work, yes it does work. One can crack seawater, extract carbon and use it in reforming gases into hydrocarbons for burning. And are toxins produced in the extraction process, yes. It could be toxic chlorine gas, excess salt and heavy metals.

Is it right to take stored Carbon from a repository, and then put it back into the atmosphere, I would say not. Would the UN have a say in putting stored Carbon back into the air? Possibly the UN when they understand the amount of CO2 being removed from safe seawater storage, and put back into the atmosphere, they could say no. Seawater contains about three percent carbon dioxide in the form of dissolved carbonic acid, carbonate and bicarbonate. Seawater is safely storing 140 percent more carbon than the atmosphere.

I don't see any situation where the Navy running a "mobile floating refinery and reforming system" is going to haul toxic byproducts from production back to land for safe disposal. If the argument being made is they want fuel at sea, with no need to "go to shore" to get it, why would they go to shore to dump the wastes?

Chances are they would use a nuclear reactor to generate the electricity needed for the separation steps.

In Tesla's question above, as they NEED the produced Carbon monoxide for the "catalytic reforming process".. they need that gas to be combined with hydrogen to start the cross-linking steps in the gas to liquid reforming steps; they don't want it permanently combined into copper or anything else to have the CO be bound up in anything except for their hydrocarbon fuel.

A nice reference to look at is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_to_liquids.. this talks about taking carbon monoxide gas, or methane and converting it to liquid fuel.

Interestingly, though, when copper is combined with cobalt, and a few other elements, a reforming catalyst can be made.

That reforming catalyst used properly forms the basis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_reforming) for a way to then take the carbon monoxide and allow it cross-link with hydrogen; to restructure the two gases into an end result, a hydrocarbon liquid. That liquid could be methanol for instance depending on the catalysts used.

What they have to do is this process (shown in the equation) after they get the CO2 from the seawater, by using the Phosphoric acid bath liberation method: CO2 + H2 → H2O + CO where the end result of the split becomes carbon monoxide (carbon dioxide plus hydrogen yields water and carbon monoxide).. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_reforming

That produced carbon monoxide then is sent to the catalyst reactor, and hydrogen is added. This happens under about 300 times the pressure of normal airpressure at sea-level. And at a higher temperature. It is a known process called the Fischer-Tropsch process. Tweaking the catalyst, and the pressure and temperature can create longer or shorter hydrocarbon molecules. In other words it is a very complex carefully monitored process to ensure that the end product is properly produced and up to standards.

What is the amount of raw seawater needed in gallons to produce 600,000,000 gallons of produced hydrocarbon fuel? What is the energy requirement? What is the amount of thousands of pounds of waste toxins produced from the manufacturing process? How many pounds of CO2 are released back into the atmosphere. Those numbers can be computed, provided one knows the exact catalysts being used, the exact formulae being used for the exact fuel grades and types being desired.

Synfuels have been tested in Jets, even at Gatwick airport UK. (http://www.dlr.de/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-837/1344_read-20376/)

Background: During 1920's the Germans who developed this gas to liquid hydrocarbon technique needed to do such because oil was in short supply, but natural gas was present in quantity.

Oman these days over in the Persian Gulf has a massive gas to liquids conversion plant to make liquid hydrocarbons out of the immense gas reserves they have.

Technically the US could do this on land too with its vast reserves of natural gas, conversions into gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. They all say COST is the prohibitive factor and would rather refine crude. But if you look at what the military was saying in the OP, 3$ to 6$ a gallon is the expected price when they get done sorting out how to make such "economically". Every year the U.S. Navy’s fleet of 15 oilers (fuel transport tankers) carries 600 million gallons (2.27 billion liters) of fuel to ships at sea.

Converting natural gas to liquid hydrocarbon fuels on land, and burning that will create atmospheric CO and CO2 emission. Converting sea water to gas to liquid fuels at sea and burning that will create atmospheric CO and CO2 and the additional pollutants from separating out the salt brine and heavy metals from seawater will have to be dealt with. What will prevent dumping of the toxic sludges?


14th April 2014, 09:19
I think they should/need to leave the sea's alone, too much harm has been caused already!

15th April 2014, 02:30
I am open to this discussion going where it has, so far.
I was initially wondering if anyone else knew if the story was legit, and next, if anyone knew if the technology was actually something revolutionary, or just the usual ho-hum distraction from the authentically advanced technologies that we know are being held in secret.
And it looks like it's really just another decoy.
But at least it's a hint that such technologies can actually be developed, that there might be life after oil.
I am not technically inclined, so cannot partake intelligently in the technical discussion.
But please, take it away if you care to discuss that further.

17th June 2014, 23:01

17th June 2014, 23:22
Yes I saw this and another one that used water and aluminum , creating a really efficient fuel , that is hard to ignite when in solid form ... they are on the track to creating travel in deep space ...

17th June 2014, 23:57
Let's hope so ghostrider ! That's if 'they' are not doing it already :)

Anyway, your reply reminded me of something I'd read recently. More disclosure or just another smokescreen ?


Please excuse me referencing the Daily Mail...usually an appaling small minded rag !

19th June 2014, 14:44
there was another thread about this ... and the people have the tech knowledge explained that this is not market useable.

Yes it can help the navy to be self sufficient for a long long time but the actual procedure is so complicated and hard that it keep Oil safe :-(

ofc if you have a company with ships ... it might help you reduce refueling times and costs but its not something for everyone.

19th June 2014, 15:37
US Navy turns seawater into jet fuel - This is REAL Genius


19th June 2014, 16:53
A real bombshell, if this turns out to be genuine !

19th June 2014, 17:54
This was discussed already here: http://projectavalon.net/forum4/showthread.php?70438-Goodbye-Oil-US-Navy-Cracks-New-Renewable-Energy-Technology-To-Turn-Seawater-Into-Fuel

19th June 2014, 20:28
This was discussed already here: http://projectavalon.net/forum4/showthread.php?70438-Goodbye-Oil-US-Navy-Cracks-New-Renewable-Energy-Technology-To-Turn-Seawater-Into-Fuel

Threads merged :).