April 8, 2014

Sponge Bob Gas Pants

This device makes gasoline from sea water

I really want to see what effect this has at the pumps. Then again, if the politicians have their way and get lubed up by the big oil companies, nothing much may change.
From the UK Daily Mail:
The US Navy has developed a radical new fuel made from seawater.

They say it could change the way we produce fuel - and allow warships to stay at sea for years at a time.
Navy scientists have spent several years developing the process to take seawater and use it as fuel, and have now used the 'game changing' fuel to power a radio controlled plane in the first test.

The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel is being hailed as 'a game-changer' because it would allow warships to remain at sea for far longer.

The US has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers, and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion.

All other vessels must frequently abandon their mission for a few hours to navigate in parallel with the tanker, a delicate operation, especially in bad weather.

The ultimate goal is to eventually get away from the dependence on oil altogether, which would also mean the navy is no longer hostage to potential shortages of oil or fluctuations in its cost.

The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years.


Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Sea Water? I know they pull Hydrogen out it but Hydrocarbons. Please to enlighten me.

sig94 said...

Got me Odie. Something about acidity and sacrificing wirgins.

Kid said...

Some of this stuff is coming into primetime play. The reverse is Hydrogen Fuel Cells. A company called PLUG has recently sold 3 to 5000? hydrogen fuel cell fork lift trucks to WalMart, Kroger and others. They are popular because it takes 3 minutes to refill a hydrogen tank on the lift versus hours at the charging station for lead acid battery lifts. You know people like these companies don't do unless there is significant ROI.

The units put water out the other end. Putting hydrogen and oxygen back together again.

Might be a nice long term investment too. Lots of lift trucks around the world. No idea what a good stock price would be, do your own DD.

fyi - Cars would be a ways off. You'd need hydrogen refueling stations all over and probably attendants to operate them. No hint that a car mfgr is thinking about it at present.

Doom said...

I am loving the idea, but then, upon initial reports (to my ears), solar, wind, and some other alternative energy sources also sounded great. In a day of modern miracles, if someone suggest the tech is only seven to ten years away? They are finding cover and seeking shelter for their buffoonery, while looking for money and allowance to tinker on their dog. They aren't even close and they don't see a clear path to success.

Further, that this is a Navy thing? Means it is a government thing. Is the Navy still shooting itself in the economic foot burning millions of gallons of over-priced "green" fuels as is? The government shouldn't be involved because it doesn't care about costs or outcome, much like academia far too often.

Uhrm, in other words, I think this is just another Gaia loving green boondoggle, only one that can't go bankrupt, but it can waste money that was meant to be used on legitimate defense purposes. HrUMPH!

Tom Simon said...

The only difficulty is that this is not an energy source of any kind. The process involves extracting water and carbon dioxide from seawater, and then water from the hydrogen, and (this is the important bit) applying an electric current to combine the two gases into hydrocarbon fuels, releasing the leftover oxygen. That electric current has to come from somewhere, and since no method of generating electricity is 100% efficient, the process consumes more energy than the resulting fuel contains.

Now, I could see this process being mighty useful for a country like India, which is poor in fossil fuels but rich in fissionable metals, and has not tied its hands by signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India could build thorium breeder reactors and use them to convert seawater to fuel until the thorium runs out or the Indian Ocean runs dry. But it won’t do the U.S. the slightest good until Americans lose their superstitious fear of nuclear power – or invent a whole new primary power source we haven’t even thought of yet.

sig94 said...

From what little I know about thorium reactors, it appears that they might be the way to go Tom. Unfortunately that superstitious mindset is not going anywhere soon.

Kid said...

China going for broke on thorium reactors

Kid said...

PS - PLUG got a strong buy upgrade from Zacks on Friday. You don't usually see coverage of stocks not on the main exchanges. Plug is on Nasdaqcm which halfway between penny stocks and main exchange stocks.