- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Navy just found a way to reduce its dependence on possible adversaries for oil — it’s converted seawater into jet fuel.

Navy researchers have announced a major technological breakthrough, saying that they have been able to convert seawater into CO2 and hydrogen, Defense One reported. By successfully clearing the chemical hurdle, scientists can now use another series of chemical processes to create a seawater-based fuel.

“It has to meet military specifications to go into a jet,” Heather Willauer, a research chemist with the Naval Research Laboratory or NRL, told an audience at the annual Sea Air Space Expo near Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Defense One reported.

“We haven’t actually made it to the specifications stage yet. But we know we’re in the hydro-carbon region and it shouldn’t be very difficult to meet that specification.”

The process is extremely energy intensive at the moment (Defense One reported that it takes “twice as much electricity to convert the water into fuel components as the process yields in terms of power”), but scientists believe that within the next decade the process will become much more efficient.

Even with the current cost, the Navy sees benefits from the breakthrough.

“The idea is really from a logistics standpoint, you’re no longer dependent on foreign fossil fuel,” said Ms. Willauer, Defense One reported. “You can make fuel where and when you need so you can stay on station, and it elevates that burden cost of fuel, of carrying it to different parts of the world.”

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