Fuel from the sea proof of concept — Naval Research Lab

Fueled by a liquid hydrocarbon—a component of NRL’s novel gas-to-liquid process that uses CO2 and H2 as feedstock—the research team demonstrated sustained flight of a radio-controlled P-51 replica of the legendary Red Tail Squadron, powered by an off-the-shelf and unmodified two-stroke internal combustion engine.

Using an innovative and proprietary NRL electrolytic cation exchange module, both dissolved and bound CO2 are removed from seawater at 92 percent efficiency by re-equilibrating carbonate and bicarbonate to CO2 and simultaneously producing H2. The gases are then converted to liquid hydrocarbons by a metal catalyst in a reactor system…

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. Pursuing remote land-based options would be the first step towards a future sea-based solution…

The process efficiencies and the capability to simultaneously produce large quantities of H2, and process the seawater without the need for additional chemicals or pollutants, has made these technologies far superior to previously developed and tested membrane and ion exchange technologies for recovery of CO2 from seawater or air.

Delightful stuff. Field expediency and cost efficiency over time – both potentials addressed in a single experiment.

Thanks, Mike

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